Barack Obama | DOMA | Gay Marriage | News

Obama on Marriage Equality at White House Presser — 'I'm Not Going to Make News on That Today': VIDEO

President Obama was asked several questions regarding his position on marriage equality today at a midday press conference, Igor Volsky at Think Progress reports.

Obamapresser In the first question, he was asked if he believes civil marriage is a constitutional right.

Dodging, the question, Obama discussed his administration's position declaring DOMA unconstitutional and praised New York's marriage equality decision, saying, in part:

"What I’ve seen happen over the last several years and what happened in New York last week, I think was a good thing. Because what you saw was the people of New York having a debate, talking through these issues. It was contentious, it was emotional, but ultimately they made a decision to recognize civil marriages and I think that’s exactly how things should work. I think it’s important for us to work through these issues because each state is going to be different and each community is going to be different."

He was later asked a follow-up question by the Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler, asking if he personally supports same-sex marriage. Said Obama: "I’m not going to make news on that today. Good try though....I’ll keep on giving you the same answer until I get a different one.”

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. When you have both MSNBC and the Wall Street Journal both trying to get you to answer the question, you probably should answer it. Obama didn't answer whether he thinks marriage is a civil right. #evolvealready

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 29, 2011 1:00:17 PM

  2. Obama is doing a smart thing by starting to refer to it as "civil marriage" in his statements. Helps to ease people into the idea and distance it from religion.

    Posted by: George | Jun 29, 2011 1:03:17 PM

  3. POTUS made a very 'diplomatic' and lawyer-like reply.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 29, 2011 1:04:54 PM

  4. Framing gay marriage as a states' rights issue while working to repeal DOMA may seem hypocritical on the President's part, but I find it a wise and calculated strategy that will ultimately result in the federal right to marriage for everyone in the quickest possible time.

    Posted by: Jack | Jun 29, 2011 1:05:45 PM

  5. Boy, CA's Prop 8 stuff just can't resolved quickly enough...

    Add CA's additional 10% of total USA population & this whole thing will start resolving itself.

    O is in a rock & hard place; Marriage Equality is red meat to conservatives & this is an election year with an Electoral College inadvertently rewarding the people that least support us with additional political weight.

    It's wrong. It's politics. Fight your enemies, not your supporters.

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | Jun 29, 2011 1:07:15 PM

  6. I've been a defender of Obama on his marriage stance here and elsewhere, but my patience is wearing thin. It's starting to look so disingenuous for a man of his intellect and educational background to pretend that a state-by-state approach is the correct one to take on matters of civil rights. I am sure that I don't need to remind Obama that a states' rights approach to slavery eventually led to the civil war. I'm sure he's aware that a states' rights approach on interracial marriage kept marriages like that of his own parents' from being recognized nationally until a Supreme Court ruling came along. It is because I am sure that he knows this that defending his stance on this issue is becoming, well, *indefensible* at this point.

    I know he's trying to calculate whether coming out for marriage equality is going to hurt him in swing states in 2012. I know he's worried that the GOP will trot out GLBT people as "boogiemen" just like they have in elections past. I also know that he's better for our community than anyone in the Republican presidential field could ever be and that we need him to win. Knowing all of this, though, my disdain for his "evolving" stance still continues to grow.

    Posted by: RyanInSacto | Jun 29, 2011 1:09:20 PM

  7. Sounds like the return of the States' Rights Democratic Party. Strom Thurmond held that exact same position when he ran for President in 1948: each state should have the right to determine what rights its citizens should enjoy.

    The conservative, Republican-dominated California State Supreme Court has decided, and a United States District Court has confirmed, that marriage equality is a "fundamental right." Apparently constitutional scholar Barack "Evolving" Obama doesn't agree.

    Politics first, principles second. Whatever happened to being a "fierce advocate" for gay equality? Oh, that's going to come "before the sun sets on this administration," meaning in the last year of his second term, assuming there is a second term.

    Posted by: Ninong | Jun 29, 2011 1:11:08 PM

  8. He'll support it the very moment 60% of the country does, and not one minute before. Got it?

    Posted by: yunin | Jun 29, 2011 1:12:05 PM

  9. It's not news that a bi-racial President whose own parents' marriage was largely illegal at the time of his birth and who ran on being a political progressive and a LGBT fierce advocate and is a Constitutional scholar doesn't support equality for all Americans?

    Sadly, he's right. It's not news anymore.

    The majority of Americans support marriage equality. The overwhelming majority of Democrats support it. The overwhelming majority of younger people support it.

    Not one bigot is going to vote for Barack Obama even if he stood on the roof of the White House for eight hours a day with a megaphone shouting, "I hate the queers".

    Guess I have something in common with the bigots, because I won't vote for him ever again, either. Having my Democratic President supporting the will of the American public in accepting every other human being's equality is NOT too much to ask.

    Posted by: ohplease | Jun 29, 2011 1:12:56 PM

  10. Good try, though!

    Ha ha ha! Imagine that. Trying to get me to answer a logical question consistent with my stated position. Ha ha ha. You guys are hilarious!!!!

    Posted by: Glenn I | Jun 29, 2011 1:15:23 PM

  11. Why can't 'progressives' just admit Obama has delivered 'change you can believe in'? And I'm not just referring to gay issues.

    Wars. He's continued and even increased our 'conflicts' and wars. Speak with Cindy Sheehan about her fair weather 'friends' and how the 'progressives' protesting 'Bush's' war[s] magically disappeared when Obama became POTUS and continued Bush's policies.

    Wall St and the financial collapse: He's given big business and Wall St EVERYTHING they want and wanted. They OWN Obama. Even Bush was tougher on Wall St and the 'industry'.

    When are there going to be significant criminal prosecutions over the massive fraud that precluded [and is still going on] the financial collapse?

    Our economy IS NOT significantly improving. Unemployment [for example] is still very high [higher than the official figure] as is inflation [also much higher than the official fudged figures].

    Healthcare 'reform' that by forcing people to buy private insurance [and subsidizing said insurance] is nothing more than massive corporate welfare and backdoor payments to campaign 'friends'.

    The list honestly is endless.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 29, 2011 1:15:46 PM

  12. @ohplease,

    His parent's marriage was not 'largely' illegal at the time of his birth, in America [assuming he really was born in America.] A few deep south states only.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 29, 2011 1:18:32 PM

  13. Maybe the states should also decide whether black and whites can marry, or if women can vote...

    Posted by: r | Jun 29, 2011 1:26:06 PM

  14. @ratbastard, incorrect. It wasn't "a few south states only." It was every southern state and a few more. When Obama was born in 1961, no only did the entire south, including the "border states" of Maryland, Delaware and Missouri, ban interracial marriage, but so did Utah, Arizona, Indiana, Wyoming and Nebraska. That's a total of 22 states where President Obama was legally a bastard at birth.

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 29, 2011 1:35:01 PM

  15. @craig,

    I'll take your word for it and stand corrected. Most of those laws would have been easily struck down at that point. Even today, there are many weird laws still on the books dating from hundreds of years ago.

    But 22 out of 50 is not largely.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 29, 2011 1:38:18 PM

  16. The states DO have power over their own territory, as they should. The U.S. is not a highly centralized geographically small western European nation. One size does not fit all, especially in a country as large and diverse as the U.S. Aside from enforcing the U.S. Constitution and basic human rights,the military, interstate commerce, FEMA, and a few other things, the federal government is too large.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 29, 2011 1:43:23 PM

  17. @ratbastard, they weren't easily struck down at that point and it was widespread. It was 22 when the President was born in 1961, but go back just four years earlier and you add Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and South Dakota to the list of states banning interracial marriage. That's a majority of 26 states (and back to a point when there were only 48 states). Go back to the early 50's and Montana, North Dakota and Oregon get added to the list of states banning it. In 1948 when the California Supreme Court struck down their interracial marriage ban, they were one of 30 states to have such laws in effect. In total 43 states had such laws at one time in their history.

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 29, 2011 1:46:07 PM

  18. Every time I read people from the LGBT community saying they will not vote for Obama agin because he is not saying exactly what they want to hear I get pissed off. Obama's personal opinion is not what the president of the united states is in office to govern by. It has been made very clear by Obamas actions that the administration feels that DOMA is unconstitutional. For obama to push this issue to the end right now would be unsmart. He sees the direction it is going and is trying to remove road blocks. It is strategy. And to keep pushing him to lay all the cards on the table is not good for our cause. It could not be strategized any better at this point. Leave the guy alone. Vote Obama next term. Other wise you are propping up mitt romney or worse. Then you will see progress on this issue stopped in its tracks.

    Posted by: Keith | Jun 29, 2011 1:49:18 PM

  19. Obama is too busy currying favor with the moneyed interests that really own and run the US to be bothered with petty Equality issues for homos. His latest cave in is on Medicare and Social Security. As the murder/suicide pact nears completion for the Democrats and Republicans. Republicans jumped off a cliff with Paul Ryan and the stupid Democrats are screaming "me too, me too" and running off the same cliff.

    Posted by: ggreen | Jun 29, 2011 1:52:53 PM

  20. @Craig,


    If anything this fact should only make Obama more sympathetic to gay civil rights including marriage.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 29, 2011 1:53:50 PM

  21. Anyone who thinks President Obama does *not* favor same-sex marriage is sorely mistaken. It's political calculus; nothing more.

    The issues facing this nation over the next two months are critical.

    His response was absolutely proper and correct.

    Same-sex was a wedge issue in 2004; it will emerge as a wedge issue in key battleground states.

    There is a reason why President Obama did not come out in favor in 2008. He knows the American electorate and he knows what can get done and at one pace.

    The fact that we sit around with our dicks in our hands looking like neophytes is lamentable.

    Wake up. There are political realities here.

    If your sole goal is getting Obama to stand up for Equality at the potential expense of a second term, go for it. It will be a moral win.

    And a Cadmean victory.

    I can already here the chorus of "buts" and can feel the fumes of smug superiority of those who, having never governed themselves, have all the answers.

    We really do eat our own.

    Posted by: Josh | Jun 29, 2011 1:54:10 PM

  22. Treating it as a states rights issue makes me wonder if other civil rights should be treated the same way...that's the follow up question I would have liked someone to ask him.

    Posted by: Don | Jun 29, 2011 2:04:24 PM

  23. @ Josh : Even just six months ago I would have agreed with you, but once you have the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal DAILY asking him how his twisted pretzel logic on this issue makes sense, at some point he's going to have to go further. He's living in a fantasy land if he thinks the answer he just gave is going to survive daily media scrutiny for another YEAR AND A HALF. Today is the first day I'm kinda realizing that he won't get away with that.

    I'd rather have the President say this right now: "NY has shown us the way forward, civil marriage for gays and lesbians combined with strong religious protections for churches and religious organizations."

    Believe me, if he's going to come out in favor of this, it's best to do it now and not in the middle of the general election heat. Otherwise this line of questioning just isn't going to let up.

    Posted by: Jollysocks | Jun 29, 2011 2:08:45 PM

  24. @ohplease said: "Not one bigot is going to vote for Barack Obama even if he stood on the roof of the White House for eight hours a day with a megaphone shouting, 'I hate the queers'."

    That's not what the Obama campaign is worried concerned about. His opposition to same-sex marriage is not about trying to appeal to those who hate gay people or get them to vote for him. His opposition to same-sex marriage is about keeping those bigots from energizing like they did in 2004 if he comes out in support of marriage equality. We might not like it, but it's true.

    Posted by: anthony | Jun 29, 2011 2:17:57 PM

  25. If you ever expected Obama to be our champion, you are a fool. The gay rights movement occured long before him and will keep going long after he is out of office. He is a politician who has to make decisions to further his political aspirations so to attack him for not declaring his support for same sex marriage is nothing more than an ideological purity test that will do nothing but harm his re-election. Personally, I'll take Obama over a Bachmann or Romney any day for a Republican in the presidency will do more harm than good. I am a supporter of this President and will continue to be his supporter because, as he points out, he has done more in his 2 years in office for gay rights than all 43 other presidents before him. After his re-election to his second term, I can guarantee you Obama will come out in favor for same sex marriage. So to the Dan Choi's out there: chill out and support this president.

    Posted by: d8alterego | Jun 29, 2011 2:23:24 PM

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