Barack Obama | Gay Marriage | Netroots Nation

White House Issues Response To Claim From Communications Director That Obama Didn't Fill Out 1996 Same-Sex Marriage Statement

Obama
Yesterday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told a panel at Netroots Nation that a 1996 questionnaire published by the Windy City Times and signed by Barack Obama in which he favored marriage equality was actually not signed by the President. Said Pfeiffer: "If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the President."

Today White House spokersperson Shin Inouye responded to Pfeiffer's claim, though it was still unclear if Obama had or had not filled the questionnaire out himself.

“'Dan was not familiar with the history of the questionnaire that was brought up today, but the president’s views are clear,' Inouye said. 'He has long supported equal rights and benefits for gay and lesbian couples and since taking office he has signed into law the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ signed into law the hate crimes bill, made the decision not to defend Section 3 of DOMA and expanded federal benefits for same sex partners of federal employees.'"

In case you missed the video the fist time, watch it, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Comments

  1. so they just don't know what the hell they are doing. pitiful!

    Posted by: John | Jun 18, 2011 3:03:42 PM


  2. So which is more embarrassing: flip flopping on the issue of marriage equality or allowing a signed document to be published that didn't accurately reflect your views and then saying nothing about it for 15 years? There are a lot of words that could be used to discribe the President's views on this subject, but "clear" is not one of them. He's clearly trying to be on both sides of this issue and it's just pathetic.

    Posted by: Ken | Jun 18, 2011 3:28:03 PM


  3. Spin, spin, spin.

    Posted by: Max | Jun 18, 2011 3:59:41 PM


  4. yes it is spin BUT he has also done a damn lot of good as vs what mcshame and pallin would have done for us

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv | Jun 18, 2011 4:48:04 PM


  5. This is stupid and embarrassing for Obama.

    He needs to fire Dan Pfeiffer, who is both a very smart man and here at least a proven very poor communications director/communicator. That would send a statement. The President should then hold a little press conference, explain that he did approve the questionnaire but had someone else fill it out, as is standard. At the same time, he should announce his full f*ing evolution on gay rights and say he is for same-sex marriage. Throw a little bait to the base, and for that matter 53% of the American public, many of whom he is losing exponentially every day...

    After that announcement, he can do whatever he wants to make marriage legal at the federal level, or he doesn't have to do anything and continue to blame congress for inaction. Marriage won't pass anyway at the federal level. For example, Obama could simply be for something, and keep letting states decide what to do (for now, until he is re-elected).

    Every time a state passes marriage, he could say "Hooray for them." Every time civil unions pass, he could say, "Good but not enough." Every time they ban same-sex marriage, he could say, "I'm disappointed and vehemently opposed, but for now it's a states' issue."

    Then the Obama team should re-hire Pfeiffer after the President is re-elected in 2012. End of controversy, however small.

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jun 18, 2011 5:01:32 PM


  6. The election cycle is off to a great start. Not for us, of course, but our corporate masters and all their pawns, from Bachmann to Obama, are having a grand time. We, of course, can all go to hell.

    Posted by: ohplease | Jun 18, 2011 5:12:42 PM


  7. The president's efforts are appreciated, but I wouldn't call his views on marriage equality "clear".

    Posted by: JeffRob | Jun 18, 2011 6:02:58 PM


  8. he's more pro gay than any president in history. He'll come to terms with marriage in his second term, i'm calling it. Clinton and Carter have already come to support it. Where is the GOP?

    Posted by: getREAL | Jun 18, 2011 6:17:26 PM


  9. I am more insulted by they fact that Dan Pfieffer (By the way the P is not silent) had no idea that this question would be asked than I am about Obamas answer(s)....

    They just seem clueless about how to tell the truth....

    If they can't tell the truth the should become Republicans.....

    Posted by: louis | Jun 18, 2011 6:52:00 PM


  10. So, which is more believable... that Weiner didn't recognize his own erection, or that Obama didn't recognize his own signature?

    Why can't Democrats tell the truth?

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 18, 2011 7:50:14 PM


  11. I'm getting tired of hearing Obama's at least better than McCain, Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum et al. Yeah, herpes is better than cancer, but...

    Posted by: ProfessorVP | Jun 18, 2011 10:11:41 PM


  12. I just don't know if the American public would ever permit gay marriage to be signed into law. It would be better to eliminate marriage entirely and offer civil partnerships to everyone instead.

    Posted by: J | Jun 19, 2011 1:38:28 AM


  13. Can Obama's strategists point to anyone that would support him as long as he does not come out for marriage equality?

    If not, this is pure stupidity as well as immoral.

    Posted by: Skye Winspur | Jun 19, 2011 10:45:41 AM


  14. What Obama said or didn't say in a 1996 questionnaire is all but irrelevant at this point--unless the "embarrassment" of this helps pressure him towards clear support of real equality. If he is actually "evolving" on marriage equality NOW, when it matters, we need to make sure he evolves in the right way. His arguments against supporting full marriage equality, particularly the irrational god is in the mix line, are seeming weaker and weaker, particularly as the trajectory (especially if NY follows it) is moving ahead with or without Obama's support. We will not have a more pro-gay President until at least 2017, so looking forward by fostering a political environment that supports equality, and meaningfully pressures the only President we have to work with, is more important than looking back.

    And, J, marriage is already a civil partnership, so unless you magically convince all the straight couples out there that marriage should be eliminated and replaced by some other name, it's a non-starter. Gay marriage won't be signed into law because there is no such thing: marriage that includes gay couples, however, is inevitable, it's a matter of when not if.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 19, 2011 11:15:35 AM


  15. Ernie, the problem as I see it is that many people see marriage as a religious ceremony, like baptism or a funeral. The government may believe it's offering a secular partnership to couples but while it uses the word marriage a lot of people will disagree. Changing the name would be seen as a separation of church and state, and should then facilitate the introduction of equal partnerships without much opposition. Religious couples would still be able to marry in a church before God, but marriage itself would not carry any legal recognition or contract with it.

    Posted by: J | Jun 19, 2011 3:30:14 PM


  16. Ernie, what he said in the 1996 questionnaire is extremely relevant in that it shows he will say one thing in a local election district, and the opposite when he casts a wider electoral net. Firstly, it shows he is an opportunist with no particular point of view. Secondly, having his moutpiece say the questionnaire was a fake or a forgery shows him to be cowardly, untrustworthy, a weasel.

    Posted by: ProfessorVP | Jun 19, 2011 9:58:08 PM


  17. "Changing the name would be seen as a separation of church and state, and should then facilitate the introduction of equal partnerships without much opposition."

    There already is a clear separation of church and state. All the benefits and protections of marriage come through the state. The state is required in the US. Churches are free to sanction whichever marriages they see fit, straight or gay. The church does not own marriage or the word "marriage." (And the church is no more supportive of CUs.) Furthermore, if you think there would be no opposition among straight people--religious and nonreligious alike--to taking the word "marriage" away from them, you're fooling yourself. There is no valid reason to exclude gay couples from marriage, or to alter the word marriage to accommodate churches who retain full religious liberties.

    @ProfessorVP: I agree that it was stupid to have the mouthpiece deny the questionnaire's legitimacy. But it's not like the questionnaire response vs. Obama's political response is news. That's been known forever. Nor is it a surprise that there's a difference between local and national politics--politicians pay attention to their political realities. Our job is to change that political reality so that supporting marriage equality, for instance, becomes a political advantage for Obama. It's disingenuous to pretend that the reality would be different if another Democrat were in the White House. If a Republican were in the White House, there would be no evolution except in the anti-gay direction.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 20, 2011 10:28:38 AM


  18. Well, Ernie, it's news to me, and probably to some others, that there is concerete evidence, on paper in black and white, that Obama was for marriage equality 15 years ago, and now claims to be evolving to something he really supported all along.

    That is, if he really supported it. I really have no idea what he is genuinely for or against, and I don't mean just on the topic of marriage equality.

    Posted by: ProfessorVP | Jun 21, 2011 1:16:40 AM


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