Contrary To Previous Reports, The President Has No Opinion On NC Marriage Amendment

Barack_obama_laughing_300bOn Friday, Barack Obama quietly involved himself in the fight over the North Carolina anti-marriage amendment. Or he instructed his campaign to get involved. Or maybe his campaign just got involved and Obama knows nothing about it. Anyway — his campaign in NC, at least, has very strong feelings about the North Carolina anti-marriage amendment, as Andy's already reported. Meanwhile, the press acts like Barack Obama just officiated a gay wedding at the Capitol Building in Raleigh.

A representative text, from the Boston Herald:

With North Carolina a key battleground state, Obama decided to take the potentially risky step of wading into a divisive social issue.

"While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples," said Cameron French, his North Carolina campaign spokesman.

So it goes at ABC, WashPo, HuffPo, just about every place. But nobody's got a comment from the president, and the actual words of spokesman Cameron French suggest that French has never spoken to the president about the anti-marriage amendment at all — "the record is clear that the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples" makes it sound as though French has taken a good look at Obama's record and deduced what the president's position would be, if only someone asked his opinion.

Of course, Cameron French probably wasn't saying anything he wasn't authorized to say. But the way he said it, as though trying to provide a sprig of political cover in case Obama should need to court a homophobe's vote between now and November, is inescapably weasely. And unnecessarily so, since the news media can't tell the difference between Cameron French and the POTUS anyway. 


  1. says

    Prop 8 had the same effect as this amendment in NC.

    Way back in July 2008 Obama opposed Prop 8 AND SIMILAR EFFORTS:

    In a letter to San Francisco’s Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club, the presumptive presidential nominee said he opposed “the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution” and similar efforts in other states.

    That position has not changed, has it?

  2. Tim NC says

    @KEVINVT… In fact, Prop 8 did not have the same effect that this NC amendment will have. The amendment in NC goes much, much further than Prop 8 went. The NC amendment bans marriage, domestic partnerships, civil unions, domestic partner benefits currently offered by many municipalities to the partners and children of employees (both gay and straight) will be eliminated and on and on and on. The amendment is broad and poorly written no one can be completely sure until the courts get involved just how far reaching the negative effects and unintended consequences might be.

  3. says

    Ah, politics. The media and the right spinning this as a big deal when it really isn’t since everyone should already know that Obama opposes ballot initiatives that seek to take away civil rights, including marriage rights. He’s on record numerous times.

    Whether his position was played up in this case by a NC spokesman without the president’s direct input is certainly possible–spokespeople do that, and if they misstate the president’s position, then they’ll probably get called on it by the administration. Highly unlikely here. And that doesn’t mean, as the headline of this post disingenuously suggests, that the president has “no opinion” on the NC marriage amendment, when in fact he’s always opposed and has never supported such amendments.

    Smart presidents wade into state politics very cautiously, and given the unnecessary brouhaha over this, it’s easy to understand why.

  4. Mark says

    I don’t want the president going anywhere near this issue in NC. NC is probably going to be razor thin in November and may be a decisive state, and I’d rather have President Obama re-elected than a President Romney. He isn’t going to lose votes there because he didn’t come out to oppose the measure, but he may alienate some key swing voters if he goes all out to oppose it. Politics sucks but sometimes you have to look at the long game.

  5. Grady says

    The sensationalized headline & photo of Obama laughing is like some sort of National Enquirer type of thing done to provoke anger.
    I suppose Mr. Thorpe wants us to vote Republican.

  6. iawl says

    What’s up with the weird angle, under his teeth photo? How about something a little more impartial– this seriously looks like something Drudge Report or Fox News would choose. Why???????

  7. Paul R says

    Prop 8 affected a whole lot more gay people than anything that would happen in NC. What state has the largest gay population?

    And who cares about the man’s (obviously fake or very redone) teeth? He’s the president. He has to be presentable.

  8. Brandon K. Thorp says

    Thanks for reading. I’m definitely not a Republican. I volunteered for the Obama campaign four years ago, and I’ll do so again this summer. Enthusiastically. The picture of Obama laughing isn’t supposed to be a knock on the man — I thought only that it was the laugh of a man very used to getting his way. Which Obama does. Which is one of the reasons I like him.

    Mark — I assume you meant to say “support” rather than “oppose” in your second-to-last sentence, and I think you’re quite right. – BKT

  9. enough already says

    I suspect that’s a St. Pat’s day photo, but I could be wrong.
    Rather like, it, actually – prefer a smiling man of intelligence with his hand on the thermonukes than the beached whale in Puerto Rico, any day.

    Obama did write a letter of support for us during Prop.8. As with so many things in that fight, we didn’t make use of it.

    Now, maybe, we have learned. I don’t know – it just seems as though the folks in North Carolina are fighting this far more aggressively and far more intelligently than the people in some other states, especially Maine, where they seem determined to repeat every single, solitary mistake we’ve made over the years.

    I think it is time for Obama to directly support us. Rick Warren and Donnie McClurkin and that nasty vicious christer faith outreach hater in the DNC have not produced one single, solitary gay-hating vote for the Democrats in all these years of bashing us.
    The reason for this is simple: Everyone, regardless of position, already knows that the Republicans want to throw us back into the closet, slam the door and throw away the key. Santorum would put in a bunch of rattlesnakes first, Gingerich would be sure to leave double-knit polyester suits hanging up and Romney would charge us entry.
    Everyone also knows that the Democrats sooner rather than later are going to come out for granting us full human status. Nobody on the right thinks Obama really is a ‘Christian’, none of them thinks he really opposes the restitution of our rights.

    Let’ stop pretending this is 1994. It’s 2012.

  10. Tim NC says

    Prop 8 may have effected more people in CA. But, that effect was only to take away the word marriage. CA still has domestic partnerships with 100% of the state benefits as are given to straight married couples. In NC however, the amendment will take away benefits that same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex partners and their children are currently receiving. It will also remove the possibility of civil unions and domestic partnerships (which CA never lost) in the future.

  11. Alan says

    Whoa! Towleroad dare to speak the truth? Stop the press.

    This blog finally got interesting. Thank you, Brandon. Andy would never have the balls to post something like this. And neither would that moron JoeMyGod.

    Obama will assume he’s taken care of us pesky homosexuals and now he can start vacuuming up our cash. Start sucking Obama. Assuming that he doesn’t need do anything else to placate gay Democrats. And no, Obamacare will not cover your back injuries that you sustain while bowing to Him.

  12. says

    rather than the expected “i hate Obama!” comments, can someone who harbours those feelings choose instead to specifically articulate what the LGBT Community should be doing , or whom we should specifically be supporting?

    just curious. rather than continually expressing what one is against can people choose instead to explicitly state what they are FOR?

    it would be much more beneficial. kthanks.

  13. jason says

    Obama never actually says anything positive about gay rights. It’s all done through his enablers who are afraid of losing the gay vote.

    Well, I certainly won’t be voting for this fraud in November.

  14. ratbastard says

    POTUS never says anything positive outright about gay rights. That’s a fact. He’s a master politician and knows he can throw gays bones here and there when the time suits him best, rally the troops in a pinch, but otherwise get away with ignoring the radicals who are some of his most fierce supporters because, well, he knows they have no where else to turn. He’s the only game in town. In a general election and will do his best to appeal to the middle ground.

  15. jack leddy says

    Obama is the best friend gay people have ever had in the presidency. Of course he doesn’t do and say everything LGBT folks want. Keep in mind that he is the president of a slightly right of center nation. He needs and LGBT folks need him to be re-elected in november if we are to continue to move foreward on progressive issues. We also need to increase the number of progressives (democrats) in the senate and to retake the house. If the right wing (republicans) aren’t beaten soundly in november, we are in for some mighty lean years.

  16. says

    Of course he’ll do his best to appeal to the middle ground. That’s how presidencies are won. To say that Obama has never said or done anything positive about gay rights is absurd, obviously. And, again, the title of this post is misleading because Obama’s public record makes clear that he (unlike all of the potential Republican nominees) does have an opinion on Amendment One becuase he opposes any amendment that seeks to take away the constitutional rights of lgbt citizens.

    It can be argued that he should take a more active stance on individual state battles, but it can also be argued that a POTUS involving himself in state issues is a bad idea for the president and in the states, where many people resent POTUS interference.

    Yes, Obama will be the only game in town for any voter who cares about gay rights, but the shift within the Democratic party also means that mainstream Dem’s, even presidents, will soon have to be on board with equality or be out of step with their party. There is no such pressure from within the Republican party, only pressure to be as anti-gay as possible to win the rightwing base.

  17. Jose S says

    Little Kiwi:’rather than the expected “i hate Obama!” comments, can someone who harbours those feelings choose instead to specifically articulate what the LGBT Community should be doing , or whom we should specifically be supporting?”

    I don’t harbor hatred for Obama himself, but I do for his policies of war-mongering, scratching the backs of wall street, and giving away money to his political backers and now authorizing the murder of US citizens. In my point of view Obama has been compromised and bribed in order for him to do the bidding for the interests who put him in the white house. Same goes for Bush et al. Romney will do the same.

    As far as the lgbt community is concerned we have nothing much else to gain but rather to lose if SOMEONE LIKE OBAMA is chosen as president. Obama has signed executive orders eroding away our civil rights, including for us gays and lesbians, and trans. For one, allowing the government to imprison us citizens without judge, jury, or warrant because the executive declares you to be an “enemy” to the state, what is stopping somebody like SANTORUM whose supporters declare gays to be “threats to national security” from declaring us as “terrorists” having our constitutional rights taken away, including the right to be gay or have gay sex? Right now Obama has pushed the boundaries of acceptable and responsible governance to the point that we can safely say that our right to be gay has been compromised since the Constitution of our republic has been compromised by Obama’s recklessness.

    Now to answer your question, we shouldn’t be supporting “persons” but rather “principles.” In other words I want the community to stand for principles instead of politicians and their wall street controllers. We should stand for freedom, individual liberty, constitutional adherence, peace, free market, equal application of law, etc. If Obama were to have these ideals he would have been a different president, and I would be supporting him. These principles are important to the gay community: freedom and individual liberty lets us be who we are without oppression, wars destroy lgbt communities in other countries, the constitution protects our equality, the free markets lets us promote our culture and ideas (and have websites like these)and equal protection of the law means what it means. But yet Obama has failed on all these tests. So does Romney, so does Santorum so does everybody else.

    So to answer your question some more I offer this question: why should we support anybody? If all of these politicians screw us more and more what is the point of putting them in office again and again. I think relying on the political class is not a very wise thing to do. I say instead of supporting these people why not support your community? Why not support LGBT teens on the brink of the suicide? Why not support the cause to find the cure for HIV? Why not convince the public on gay marriage? You see I find these causes and actions more relevant to the gay community than supporting a politician who has constantly lied to the gay community on record.

    I hope I was sincere enough to answer your question not as a person who “hates Obama” but rather a person who loves his community more.

  18. Jose S says

    “Obama’s public record makes clear that he (unlike all of the potential Republican nominees) does have an opinion on Amendment One becuase he opposes any amendment that seeks to take away the constitutional rights of lgbt citizens.”

    Well to be fair to Brandon, and this is the first time I actually defend Towleroad, is that in actuality, Obama has not spoken NC’s amendment 1 directly. So in reality this means he has no opinion on this amendment. That is not misleading but actually the truth. It doesn’t mean its bad, just means he hasn’t spoken directly about amendment one while other news outlets are claiming that he did, and that was outright misleading and I think Brandon hit a home run with this one.

  19. says

    “And neither would that moron JoeMyGod.”

    I think this towleroad piece is quite neutral. JoeMyGod is not. And I don’t think he is a moron, he is just very clever in duping many gays to believe his way, which in a way is quite disingenuous. Because I come from the school of thought that you present the news and let your audience make up your mind. Joe Jervis wants to think for you and force you to a conclusion. Andy is guilty of that too to some extent. But Joe is really horrible, and may I dare say one of the worse blogs I have ever read.

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