White House Anticipates More Questions for Obama on ‘Personal’ Gay Marriage Views, Won’t Comment For Him

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was questioned again by reporters today on President Obama's 'evolution' on marriage:

CarneyQ    On the gay marriage issue, Jay, has the intensity of interest in this and the statements from some of the President's supporters led him to consider clarifying his position?  And considering that his views are evolving, does he want to maybe consider his views more thoroughly?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I don't have a readout of any conversations involving the President on that issue.  I can tell you that I'm sure it is the case that he will be asked again at some point when he gives interviews or press conferences about this issue, and I'll leave it to him to describe his personal views.

I think it's important to note, as I attempted to do yesterday, that what is abundantly clear is this President's firm commitment to the protection of and securing of the same rights and obligations for LGBT citizens as other Americans enjoy.  He has been a strong proponent of LGBT rights, and I think that's demonstrated by his record, which is unparalleled, as President in support of those rights.

Q    Jay, you said yesterday on this issue in reference to Vice President Biden's remarks and the President's, that the President's personal views obviously were evolving, and you stressed the personal views.  I guess is there maybe a disconnect between his policies and his personal views in terms of maybe his policies are ahead of his personal views on this?

MR. CARNEY:  No, I don’t think so.  I think the President's absolute commitment to the rights of LGBT citizens demonstrated by the path he took to ensure the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," the opposition that he and his administration have expressed towards DOMA and the fact that he believes it ought to be repealed.  It is also the case that the President and the Attorney General believe that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, which is why the federal government no longer defends Section 3.  And from hate crimes legislation to hospital visitation rights, the list of accomplishments is quite long and I think demonstrates his feelings about, broadly, this issue.

The press gaggle was held aboard Air Force One on the way to Albany, New York where Obama would be meeting with Governor Cuomo.

Q    Do you think he'll talk about it with Cuomo considering he's received a lot of plaudits from the LGBT community?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I think — I don’t know what their conversations will contain.  I know that they'll focus on the issue that the President has come to discuss in upstate New York. I think the President has taken a position on some of these state issues, and I think he did on New York and he has in North Carolina.  And I think the position he takes has — the positions he has taken are consistent with his belief that it is wrong to take actions that would deny rights to LGBT citizens or rescind rights already provided to LGBT Americans.  And that’s a position that you can fully expect him to maintain.

For a brief time on Wednesday of last week, Obama had been scheduled to be in North Carolina today, where of course, Amendment One is topic #1, the News Observer reports:

The White House initially did not respond to questions about the scheduling snafu but later spokeswoman Joanna Rosholm issued a statement: "Any confusion around today's travel plans is due to an internal miscommunication at the White House. The President will travel to North Carolina again soon."

The alert about the Obama visit came about noon Wednesday and was changed by 5 p.m. The White House's official week-ahead schedule released at the end of last week put the president in New York today, not Asheville.


  1. Vint says

    And Tennessee doesn’t understand what evolution is. Double bonus!

    Evolution takes thousands of years to make any significant changes. Which is perhaps why it’s Obama’s explanation of choice with regard to his opinion on marriage inequality.

    Thousands of years is too long to wait for equal rights.

  2. Rick says

    I have been exceptionally patient with Obama on the marriage question. His administration has better on LGBT issues than any other. ANY. And while his ‘evolution’ on marriage is disappointing, I’ve also been in the chorus of voices saying that his position reflects an unfortunate-yet-necessary political calculation.

    But seriously. Everyone has their breaking point. And the last three days have been a total sh*t show. At a certain point you have to say enough is enough. Either get everyone clearly on message, or alternately, give them free rein on this issue. I’d vote for the latter: allow Biden and Duncan to speak candidly from the heart.

    But what they absolutely should NOT do is endlessly parse and walk-back statements by surrogates. Seeing Axelrod’s backbends and contortions over the past three days has been truly gag-inducing.

  3. G.I. Joe says

    If Obama declares himself for gay marriage, he’ll lose the reelection. It’s as simple as that.

    In Amercian Politics, the goal is to get the swing voters. That’s all there is to it. You shouldn’t care about your base: They’re already voting for you.

    Obama IS for gay marriage. It’s so painfully obvious. Does he need to say it and be set upon like a rabbit by the Christianist hounds? Leave him alone, get him reelected and then pressure him into legalizing gay marriage everywhere, which I think is going to be for soon anyway.

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