White House issued perfunctory statement on New York marriage. Seriously: Evolve Already

I’m really glad I didn’t read the White House statement on marriage last night. It’s really embarrassing. Might have been useful circa 2004. Seriously, it’s embarrassing. Via Chris Johnson:

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said the president believes gay couples should receive “the same rights and legal protections” as opposite-sex couples, but wants states to determine the best approach to offer these protections.

The president has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples,” Inouye said. “That’s why he has called for repeal of the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ and determined that his administration would no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the courts. The states should determine for themselves how best to uphold the rights of their own citizens. The process in New York worked just as it should.”

Inouye’s issued the statement via e-mail in response to an inquiry from the Washington Blade.

Maybe within the confines of the White House that statement makes sense. But, in the real world, it sounds pathetic. This is 2011. Public opinion is on our side and it’s getting better all the time. Young people strongly support marriage. President Obama is younger than me. His position is untenable — and unbelievable at this point (especially since he was for gay marriage in 1996 before he was against it).

[NOTE FROM JOHN: The President has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples?  No he doesn't.  There are some 1,100 federal rights that accrue to married couples, and married couples only.  The President doesn't think that you and I should be permitted to get married. But the only way to get the same rights as straight couples is to get married.  So, with all due respect to the President, his statement isn't true.]

In today’s Washington Post article about New York, there’s this blurb about Obama and marriage:

The decision came a day after President Obama appeared at a Manhattan fundraiser before an audience of gay donors. Obama campaigned as an opponent of gay marriage but more recently has said his views on the issue are “evolving.”

The president did not indicate any change of heart, despite the calls of “Marriage!” and “Do you support it?” from the audience. All week, activists have been calling on Obama to “evolve already,” noting that his position puts him to the right of the Republicans who supported same-sex marriage in New York.

Those calls are only going to get louder.

During the interview I did with President Obama last October, we had a back and forth over marriage. That’s when he first said he was evolving on the issue. Here’s how it concluded:

Joe: And part of it is that you can’t be equal in this country if the very core of who you are as a person and the love — the person you love is not — if that relationship isn’t the same as everybody else’s, then we’re not equal. And I think that a lot of — particularly in the wake of the California election on Prop 8, a lot of gay people realized we’re not equal. And I think that that’s — that’s been part of the change in the –

THE PRESIDENT: Prop 8, which I opposed.

Joe: Right. I remember you did. You sent the letter and that was great. I think that the level of intensity in the LGBT community changed after we lost rights in that election. And I think that’s a lot of where the community is right now.

THE PRESIDENT: The one thing I will say today is I think it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going.

Joe: The arc of history.

THE PRESIDENT: The arc of history.

The President is watching the arc of history bend right before his eyes. And, he’s way behind.

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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