While White House holds secret gay outreach call, while Gibbs suggests White House still stands by anti-gay DOMA brief that invoked incest

One hand giveth…

We reported earlier that the White House held a conference call at 2pm Eastern today with the members of the DNC’s gay caucus. We had a report that one of the caucus members asked the White House Deputy Chief of staff and political director:

“What are we going to do about the blogs?”

Perhaps you should be more concerned about what you’re going to do with a White House that is actively doing harm to your community, discharging two gay service members a day, and filing court briefs in support of DOMA, comparing us to pedophiles and incest.

Along those lines, at the same time the White House was privately schmoozing the gay members of the DNC leadership, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was out in front of reporters, yet again standing by that DOMA brief that he refused to repudiate the other day. Gibbs, today, was asked specifically about an incident that happened this weekend when a lower-level White House staffer seemed to show remorse for the administration’s anti-gay brief.

Q Robert, on the issue of the DOMA brief, one of your colleagues over the weekend, Lisa Brown, said that she didn’t think some of the language that was in that brief should have been in there. Can you clarify from last week whether that brief was clear here at the White House, whether it represents the White House’s view?

MR. GIBBS: Lisa is the Staff Secretary. You didn’t ask her?

Q It wasn’t a press conference; it was a panel discussion. But can you clarify whether it was cleared —

MR. GIBBS: I don’t know the answer to that.

Q And do you know if there is any discussion underway about maybe modifying it or changing it?

MR. GIBBS: Not that I’m aware of.

The reporter asks some good questions. Isn’t it time that someone in the administration publicly apologized and explained what the hell happened that this brief was permitted to be filed? I’m surprised that none of our organizations, or our allies in Congress, seem very interested in getting some basic answers to some obvious questions:

1. How high up in Justice and the White House was this brief cleared? Who was the highest political appointee in Justice to see the brief, or be informed of the brief, before it was filed, and who was the highest political appointee in the White House?

2. Is it true that the Obama administration actually used a rehashed version, with some deletions, of an earlier Bush administration brief on DOMA?

3. Is the White House going to defend DOMA again in the upcoming brief due in only 7 days? Will the White House let DOJ reiterate the pedophilia and incest comparison? Will the White House have DOJ remove any of the other offensive language from the brief, such as the suggestion that DOMA wasn’t motivated by anti-gay animus (directly contradicting the president’s own words as candidate), that DOMA doesn’t discriminate against gays because gays can marry straights, that Loving v. Virginia doesn’t apply to gay marriage, that DOMA is constitutional? And that’s just for starters.

As a reader of ours wrote the other day, if President Obama truly didn’t stand by this brief’s incredibly offensive content, then why didn’t he simply repudiate it the moment it went public? A simple “I had no choice” would have sufficed (at least until we uncovered that in fact he did have a choice).

For all the public contortions the administration is going through in their deflections and non-responses to this rupture with the community, why are they avoiding two simple words: We’re sorry.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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