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Obama slams Republicans trying to kill gay marriage rights: 'Are we still arguing about this?'

The former President was at a rally in support of Terry McAuliffe, the state of Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Obama slams Republicans trying to kill gay marriage rights: 'Are we still arguing about this?'
Image Source: Obamas Break Ground On Long-Delayed Presidential Center In Chicago. CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 28. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Trigger Warning: Transphobia

Former United States President Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail. This time around, he is campaigning in support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. During his speech last Saturday at a rally in Richmond, Virginia, he addressed the growing call from members of the Republican party to take away marriage rights from the LGBTQ+ community, The Hill reports. Obama's assertions arrive after McAuliffe's Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, confirmed in an interview that he did not believe in marriage equality. The former President played a crucial role in securing the Constitutional right for same-gender couples to marry, one of his landmark achievements during his tenure.


"Are we still arguing about gay marriage? Really?" Obama asked the crowd that had gathered for the rally. "I thought that ship had sailed. I thought that was pretty clearly the right thing to do." Same-gender marriage was legalized in the US in 2015, following several years of state and federal level court battles. When the Supreme Court heard Obergefell v. Hodges, it ruled that bans on same-gender marriage were unconstitutional. The victory has thus been heralded as a critical milestone in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.


Unfortunately, some Republicans are looking to overturn the ruling, many of whom are reeling from the momentum set by the country's last President, Donald Trump. Trump was responsible for undoing much of the progress made with regard to LGBTQ+ rights during Obama's presidency. For instance, he enforced a policy that housed trans folks in prison as per their assigned sex at birth rather than their true gender identity. Members of the Democratic party have thus expressed concerns that the GOP could enact similarly oppressive legislation. The recent bans on abortion in states across the Bible Belt, particularly in Texas, are an example of these hesitations.


In this context, Youngkin's anti-LGBTQ+ assertions in an interview with the Associated Press are increasingly alarming. The gubernatorial candidate plainly claimed he does not agree with LGBTQ+ marriage equality, although he noted he feels "called to love everyone" and that he would "support" the law as written on the matter. In strong contrast, McAuliffe is a fierce advocate of LGBTQ+ rights. In 2014, the Democrat supported his state's effort to legalize LGBTQ+ marriage, including the issue as a matter of importance in his run for governor a year earlier.


According to recent polls, the candidates are engaged in quite a close race, with McAuliffe holding a slight lead. As of Wednesday, he averaged 47.6 percent of expected votes. The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election will be held on November 2, 2021.


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