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Watch: WH Advisor David Axelrod Defends Obama's Contradictory Position on Equality and Same-Sex Marriage


White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod defends Obama's contradictory position that he supports equality for gays and lesbians but is against same-sex marriage.

Axelrod clarifies:

"He supports equality for gay and lesbian benefits and other issues and that has been effectuated in federal agencies under his control."

The question remains — in a nation where "all men are created equal" is it right for its leader to espouse a position of only limited equality for some of its citizens? Because that's essentially the position Axelrod is defending.

Civil unions are not marriage.


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  1. There is no defense for Obama's position. Separate is NOT equal. Never has been. Never will be. That he is defending this position of un-equality is a shame. I hope the irony will not be lost on future generations. "Fierce advocate" indeed!

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 5, 2010 10:55:43 AM

  2. How very courageous of President Obama to split hairs, parse words, and make politically mealy-mouthed policy hedges. I expected more from a man who undoubtedly experienced serious discrimination in his life...

    Posted by: joe | Aug 5, 2010 10:55:54 AM

  3. I agree there is no defense for his position. Civil unions are biased - period!

    Someone in the NY Times this morning commented noting the difference between 'secular marriage' and 'holy matrimony'. This is where the hairs should be split. We don't want 'holy matrimony' -- no one is asking for the church to sanction anything, they have no say in this.

    Posted by: Kevin | Aug 5, 2010 11:04:58 AM

  4. If that was the defense, it FAILED, again. (The dimwitted interviewer didn't help matters.) I suggest they all sit down with Judge Walker's decision and then try to refute it. Good luck.

    How refreshing it would be if Axlerod could just quit the bullshit and say: President Obama's opinion is entirely formed by the perceived political ramifications of it.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 5, 2010 11:05:36 AM

  5. Andy, I know you were just quoting when you wrote "The question remains — in a nation where 'all men are created equal'", but that phrase is itself problematic because it excludes women. If we are going to critique the president about parsing words and contradictions then you must be vigilant about our own words. Update your language and say "women and men." Revise the quotation.

    I think that sometimes we should distinguish between our private beliefs and what we know is right for the nation. Privately, I really don't care about marriage or monogamous relationships with the women that I date. But, publicly I think marriage equality is extremely important for those who want it.

    Could it be that some people feel the same way? Can you be a private Christian and a public progressive?

    Posted by: veg | Aug 5, 2010 11:06:24 AM

  6. I never thought I'd see the day when I wrote this, but I think I prefer the brand of bigotry that's served up by the overtly anti-gay crowd. At least their intentions are clear. These people currently in power turn my stomach, not because there's anything new about their tactics but because I expected - naively - so much more.

    Posted by: Arthur | Aug 5, 2010 11:11:36 AM

  7. Obama placates gays, he has no innetion of meeting his promises with the muster he gave for healthcare, or finicial regulation, or his other pet causes. Executive orders are worthless.

    @Arthur - I agree, at least Republicans look us in the eye when they fuck us. We know where they stand and we know what to expect. I am deeply disappointed by this administrations promise of "change". My $$$'s have dried up for dems and groups like the HRC, who promise to fight for our issue at a time.

    Posted by: Pete | Aug 5, 2010 11:24:58 AM

  8. They are all cowardly scumbags.

    Posted by: Jersey | Aug 5, 2010 11:36:12 AM

  9. I no longer care how obama feels about gay marriage/equality. i voted for him thinking "just maayyyybe it will be different this time..." but nope.

    next time i vote, you're either for FULL ASS equality or not. if not, dont expect my damn vote again

    Posted by: Liz | Aug 5, 2010 11:45:40 AM

  10. " . . . at least Republicans look us in the eye when they fuck us."

    They also look us in the eye when they appoint Supreme Court justices, whose opinions will matter long after Obama's contradictions on marriage bite the dust. Big picture, boys and girls.

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 5, 2010 11:47:41 AM

  11. What a failure of a defense. Time to speak with votes in 2010 and 2012.

    Posted by: DR | Aug 5, 2010 11:47:48 AM

  12. Any presidential candidate that fully comes out in favour of gay marriage won't get elected, and he knew that. It still stands true. The country as a whole is not willing to accept it yet.

    They will be, and we need to work as hard we can to get them there.

    Posted by: lis | Aug 5, 2010 11:55:50 AM

  13. i'm actually in favor of civil unions for everybody-whether it's same sex or those pesky "opposite marriages."

    you can't get married in a church without a piece of paper from city hall anyhow so why not let the churches have their marriages. that way, everyone gets the same legal status, there's a seperation of church & state and, since there exist numerous churches that will join same sex partners, the whole "marriage" aspect can be between the couple & their religious institution.

    Posted by: alguien | Aug 5, 2010 11:58:04 AM

  14. Alguien has it right...that is the path we should all be taking.

    However, until civil unions (or marriage) applies to EVERYONE equally, it is nothing more than matrimonial apartheid. Obama of all people should understand that concept.

    I've voted overwhelmingly Democratic all of my voting life, however, the Dems now have to earn my more free passes from me at the voting booth.

    Posted by: jaymax | Aug 5, 2010 12:08:42 PM

  15. Who knows what his position is on marriage or anything else!!! Sending mixed messages is his specialty so people can paint the picture they want to see of his views just like election 2008. Many people were fooled by him in 2008 which most likely will not happen in 2012. Same goes for his promises which we all know now do not mean much.

    Posted by: InExile | Aug 5, 2010 12:20:02 PM

  16. why thank you jaymax! i was expecting to have the crap beat outta me over that post! but i see it as the truly rational way to approach the issue.

    of course the NOMMERS will still try to fight it but they probably wouldn't have a leg to stand on at that point.

    Posted by: alguien | Aug 5, 2010 12:20:42 PM

  17. I realize the symbolic importance many of you seem to place on Obama's stepping up for full equality, and I do believe that it would likely sway some minds in the citizenry, but, do any of you believe that any of that would have ANY effect on the Gang of Four (Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Roberts)? And I doubt that Kennedy cares for a moment what BHO thinks. The pres. is on the wrong side of history here, but of course four more years is his primary goal. Stop waiting for a fairy tale ending...give your $$$ to and help them get 'er done!

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 5, 2010 12:47:37 PM

  18. @Alguien. Aside from being gay, I'm very liberal. The vast majority of my friends (gay or straight) think civil unions is the way go to for EVERYONE, and that the gay community is doing itself a disservice and making this fight 10x more difficult by ignoring the very valid religious aspect to marriage.

    By implementing civil unions for all, and getting the State out of the marriage business, you completely negate 99% of the opposition to gay marriage. We could then achieve what we've been fighting for very, very quickly.

    Posted by: jaymax | Aug 5, 2010 12:53:15 PM

  19. @Jaymax - good luck getting that through 40+ state legistlatures that don't already have equality in marriage or domestic partnerships/civil unions. The fight is happening now, Perry v. if you've not heard, and we are winning - go AFER! Marriage IS a civil (state sponsored) right - you wanna priest or rabbi involved, take your pick. If not, get a JOP or "officiant for a day."

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 5, 2010 1:04:00 PM

  20. "President Obama's opinion is entirely formed by the perceived political ramifications of it"

    IMHO this part of Ernie's comment is the gist of things but what gets me is it's like some of us are acting like we don't know or understands this...

    To me it's kind of like the bee I get in my bonnet over the scenario of an athiest who has the better qualifications and ability over his opponents to run this country as president would then be asked the question about religious values and belief in God...if he or she answers honestly why do I get the feeling that bid for the office would be over at that point? Like i'm so sure there aren't any non-belivers on Capitol Hill...

    Posted by: sonofabutch | Aug 5, 2010 1:19:19 PM

  21. The reason why its important to keep voting for democrats is SUPREME COURT JUSTICES as well as other judicial appointments. Our rights will ultimately be decided in the courts. As slow as they move they move with light speed compared to Congress.

    If Mccain would have won we would have had two moderate liberal to liberal justices replaced with right wing CONSERVATIVE justices. Then we'd really be fucked.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Aug 5, 2010 1:27:49 PM

  22. Double Talk.... But we've come far in 20 months Imagine if McCain/Pallin had a say?

    Posted by: John Normile | Aug 5, 2010 1:32:59 PM

  23. On one hand, it's the political reality, on the other hand, the President helps to shape political reality. I'm disappointed at how little the President has taken to being a leader of the people and a shaper of thoughts.

    Posted by: Mike B. | Aug 5, 2010 1:35:20 PM

  24. @Jaymax: That's just a lie you tell yourself. Get out in the world and you'll see that homophobes aren't going to be satisfied with civil unions (see, e.g. Hawaii, Washington). And neither should we, frankly. I don't care if you call it civil marriage, but the notion that marriage is a religious institution fails to account for the fact that women are no longer property of their fathers and servants of their husbands. That is what traditional Christian religious marriage is, and you cannot accept the two-faced idea that it would all be okay if only we accepted civil unions.

    Posted by: Mike B. | Aug 5, 2010 1:39:34 PM

  25. I agree with the comment about staying focused on the big picture. I made my earlier comment in a moment of frustration. But, speaking of, does anyone have a clear idea of where the woman about to be confirmed to the court stands on anything? I've read a lot about her and listened to lots of commentary for and against, and the only consensus seems to be that she hasn't taken much of a stance on anything. If I've missed something I hope someone comments on it. I'd like to know.

    Posted by: Arthur | Aug 5, 2010 1:50:58 PM

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