Awkward. Marriage issue hangs over White House Pride cocktail party

So, the White House Pride Cocktail Party is tonight. And, just in time to add some punch to the cocktail party conversation, the NYT’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg has an article on Obama’s evolving (or not) position on marriage:

Legal scholars say Mr. Obama is correct; regulating marriage is indeed the province of the states — to a point. Federal courts have at times intervened to declare state marriage laws unconstitutional, as was the case in Loving v. Virginia, the landmark 1967 Supreme Court case that effectively ended all race-based restrictions on marriage.

Yet in the context of the New York debate, Mr. Obama’s comments infuriated some prominent advocates and potential donors. They include Chad Griffin, who sits on the finance committee for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign and recently co-hosted a fund-raiser featuring Michelle Obama that raised more than $1 million, and Paul Yandura, a Democratic strategist who advises gay philanthropists, including some Obama donors.

“That language is really a dog whistle for the right,” Mr. Yandura said.

Mr. Griffin, who said he intended to continue to work to re-elect the president, called the comments “a step backwards,” and said Mr. Obama should use Wednesday’s reception to clarify them. The White House sees no need to clarify.

Others took issue with Mr. Obama’s word choice at the Manhattan fund-raiser, where he noted that “traditionally marriage has been decided by the states.” His critics say that by invoking states’ rights, the president — a former constitutional law professor and son of a black father and white mother — brought up arguments once used to justify laws that would have prevented his own parents from marrying.

“That was the argument they made about segregation,” Ms. Rosen, who has long been supportive of Mr. Obama, said Tuesday.

Hmmm. Seriously, this is getting embarrassing. I’m sure there are people on the President’s political team who thought this push for him to evolve already was just the work of the “AMERICAblog crazies,” other LGBT bloggers and the activists like GetEQUAL. Surely, they must have thought they could rely on the access-driven gays to defend the President’s position (like HRC’s Fred Sainz did on Hardball last week.) But, even one of the ultimate DC insiders, Hilary Rosen, isn’t buying the President’s line on marriage. Yep. And, one of the Obama campaign’s fundraisers, Chad Griffin, weighed in, too.

Evolve already.

And, everyone who goes to that cocktail party tonight really needs to ask the President to evolve already.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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