Barack Obama | Gay Marriage | News | Proposition 8 | Supreme Court

President Obama Speaks Out About Why He is Opposing Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court: VIDEO


At a news conference this afternoon, President Obama was asked about his administration's amicus brief to the Supreme Court urging it to strike down Proposition 8.

The specific question presented before the Court right now is whether Prop 8 and the California law is unconstitutional and what we’ve done is we’ve put forward a basic principle which applies to all equal protection cases. Whenever a particular group is being discriminated against, the court asks the question, what is the rational for this. And it better be a good reason. And if you don’t have a good reason, we’re going to strike it down.


And be sure to check out our legal expert Ari Ezra Waldman's ANALYSIS of the brief HERE.

(via think progress)

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  1. Mateom proves my point, yet again. He can't refute my argument or Jose Soto's argument so he resorts to ridiculous ad hominem snarkiness. Mateom says that Jose and I "probably" didn't vote, and that we've done nothing to enact positive change and that we are "trolls." Obviously, "probably" is no basis to support any argument. Mateom's name-calling ("trolls") is just pure childishness. And Mateom's last retort--that we've done nothing to enact positive change--is both simply false and simply irrelevant to the issue. I've certainly done more than Obama has to enact change. And whatever I've done (or not done) and whatever Jose has done (or not done) doesn't change the fact that Obama did not and does not support full equality. Period.. Full stop..

    Posted by: James E. Pietrangelo, II | Mar 1, 2013 3:12:00 PM

  2. Comments were eaten again.

    As I said, Obama is far from perfect to be sure, but would those who are harshly criticizing him as if he were George Wallace...would they be saing ANYTHING if Mitt Romney were president?

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Mar 1, 2013 3:13:04 PM

  3. FYI, James...

    actually, Lyndon Johnson did tell Martin Luther King that voting rights could not be included in the CRA of 64, therefore, LBJ fell far short of endorsing complete equality foir blacks.

    and Franklin Roosevelt resisted pressure just prior to WWII and did not racially integrate the armed services...

    so even if one accepts that what you say about Obama is true, he's acting no different from anyone else who worked in the Oval Office (and I've defending FDR's decision not to sign an EO desegregating the military).

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Mar 1, 2013 3:17:05 PM

  4. James - name one sitting American President who has taken a stronger stance on Equality.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 1, 2013 3:17:35 PM

  5. Little Kiwi: There will always be people like you who hate the truth, who hate people like me who call Obama (and others) out on their bigotry, who hate people like me who fully support MLK, Jr.s philosophy no matter who is involved.

    Your comment about my reference to Republican supporters would have some validity if I had praised the Republican supporters. I didn't. Obviously, I was merely pointing out that Obama is no supporter of equality when even members of the party whose platform is opposed to Gay equality is ahead of him in calling for full marriage equality.

    Again, like Mateom, you prove my point. You can't refute my argument so you resort to childish comment like having a Republican up my ass. Grow up.

    Posted by: James E. Pietrangelo, II | Mar 1, 2013 3:21:34 PM

  6. Chitown Kev and Little Kiwi: doing the same as any other president, or doing somewhat more than any other president, is not a measure for praise when it comes to equality. Prior to becoming a born-again Christian, George Wallace did the same that prior governors did in enforcing discrimination against Blacks, and after his conversion Wallace did somewhat more than prior governers in supporting equality (by having Blacks in his cabinet, etc.). Yet you don't see me praising Wallace; nor do you see history praising Wallace--and rightfully so. So no one should be praising Obama, who enforced discrimination against Gays during his presidency, even when legally he had the option not to; who until recently opposed Gay marriage, and who did not support full marriage equality or suspect classification in his PROP 8 brief.

    Obama has continuously engaged and enabled discrimination thus because of people like you who give him cover with your support.

    Posted by: James E. Pietrangelo, II | Mar 1, 2013 3:33:23 PM

  7. I didn't see you, once upon a time, at Queer Rising meetings, did I?

    How are those republicans "ahead of Obama" when their support is LITERALLY the definition of lip-service? they claim to care, yet vote for those who work AGAINST it.

    You call President Obama a bigot, then tell others to "stop resorting to childish name-calling."

    Uh, ok Sugarpie.

    You really think that President Obama is a bigot simply because he hasn't passed legislations you want in the manner and speed that you'd prefer?

    I like MLK's philosophy. Also Malcolm X's, to be honest.

    And I highly encourage you to take your passion into blog form - that way we can all learn from your confident and empowered example.

    Why would I hate a person for believing in MLK Jr.s philosophy? What I can't stand is, specifically, people screaming loudly in a freakin' vacuum.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 1, 2013 3:33:41 PM

  8. I'd say 85-90% of people I've seen are very excited and pleased about the brief filed by President Obama. He knows what he's doing. He's our friend, and he's our ally.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 1, 2013 3:33:58 PM

  9. James and Jose apparently can't read.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Mar 1, 2013 3:34:26 PM

  10. Little Kiwi: I won't respond to most of your last post since it refutes itself, but to answer your question:

    supporting full marriage equality, i.e, nationwide, is certainly "ahead" of supporting marriage equality in only California (and/or the states that already have equality).

    Posted by: James E. Pietrangelo, II | Mar 1, 2013 3:38:59 PM

  11. James, you're sounding like Lt. Dan Choi when he went on that utterly insane "President Obama is the Worst President in History" kick which signaled his breakdown.

    yes yes. we hear what you're against. pray tell, specifically tell us what (or WHOM) you are FOR.

    it's very clear that you have a chosen need to hate Obama. Hope that works for you. But hating Obama won't bring about Equality for LGBT people.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 1, 2013 3:40:24 PM

  12. James, no one praises the george Wallace of "Segragation now, Segregation forever" fame.

    History does record not only that Wallace changed but that what that change actually was was a reversal to form after a period in which he didn't win the Presidiency.

    And no, history doesn't praise Wallace but it does say this:

    Wallace himself became a victim of violence on May 15, 1972, while campaigning for president in Maryland. He was shot five times as he stepped out from behind a bulletproof podium. One of the bullets badly damaged his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed.
    "One has to wonder if, sitting in that wheelchair, maybe he had a chance to contemplate," Poe says of Wallace's years after the shooting.
    Some years later, after Lewis had been elected to Congress, he heard from Wallace. "He said, 'John Lewis, will you come by and talk with me?'
    "And I remember the occasion so well," Lewis says. "It was like someone confessing to their priest or to a minister. He wanted people to forgive him. He said to me, 'I never hated anybody; I never hated any black people.'
    "He said, 'Mr. Lewis, I'm sorry.' And I said, 'Well, governor, I accept your apology.' "
    Poe was also able to reach the same conclusion. "Being the type of person I am, out of my heart and soul, I can forgive George Wallace. Yes. Heaven's sakes, I forgive him," Poe says. "But forget? No. Never."
    Even today, Lewis says he often reflects on the governor's speech.
    "Does it hurt me? No," Lewis says. "In the end, I think George Wallace was one of the signs on this long journey towards the creation of a better America, toward the creation of a more perfect union. It was just one of the stumbling blocks along the way."
    In his later years, Wallace reached out to civil rights activists and appeared in black churches to ask forgiveness. In his last election as governor of Alabama, in 1982, he won with more than 90 percent of the black vote. Wallace died in September 1998.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Mar 1, 2013 3:42:13 PM

  13. I'm too happy about our Pres to worry about the trolls that he brings out, especially ones that didn't read the brief, don't comprehend what he said in this news conference, and haven't got a freaking clue.

    And yeah, there's plenty more Obama COULD do ... but that won't take away from what he HAS done. As a gay Californian, this brief filing makes me feel all lovey and warm. It's narrow, but it's strategic (and, since I'm very familiar with legal briefs, a narrow amicus brief is commonplace anyway). But this is not your typical amicus - it's from the freaking President of the United States. This is big, this is rad.

    Smile and waive at the silly trolls.

    Posted by: Zlick | Mar 1, 2013 3:42:15 PM

  14. by voting for Romney, they can throw their "i'm a republican who supports gay marriage" claims out the freakin' window.

    Romney would be a man who would never, ever, send a message of equality, inclusivity and celebrating diversity to his country. President Obama has given more hope to those young people growing up in Republican homes than any other president in history.

    But yeah - didn't I used to see you at Queer Rising meetings in NYC?

    Yes. You're against Obama. Whom, SPECIFICALLY, are you for? FOR?

    If you don't want to be called names, you might want to think twice about your constant labeling of President Obama as a "bigot".

    Mind you, your other comments about "how if this had been a BLACK ___ blah blah blah" are likely more telling than I want them to be.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 1, 2013 3:47:48 PM

  15. In 1967, the federal government did not weigh in on Loving v. Virginia. In 2013, the Obama administration had no requirement to weigh in on Prop 8, yet they did, finding it unconstitutional. They also weighed in on DOMA, finding it, too, unconstitutional. (That the briefs are tailored to the actual cases and the actual Supreme Court we're stuck with is hardly outlandish or bigoted to anyone with depth of thought.) And anyone who thinks these briefs don't matter or who is reading dark and heinous anti-gayness into the briefs or into the President's statement today is seeing them through a fantasy of personal and irrational animosity towards the President.

    Like any President, Obama has made missteps (God is in the mix, Rick Warren) that will affect his legacy (just ask Clinton about DADT and DOMA), but it's clear at this point that Obama--unlike his predecessors--is on the right side of history (along with more and more others, including a small minority of Republicans) on gay rights and especially marriage equality. Anyone is free to pretend otherwise, but that's not how the history is going to go down.

    Posted by: Ernie | Mar 1, 2013 3:49:53 PM

  16. Thank You, Ernie.

    Know what's been ugly, in the last 5 years? Miserable gay white men that seem to WANT Obama to "not do anything" so they can have a reason to join their p.o.s. white families in hating That Black President.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 1, 2013 3:53:13 PM

  17. @ CHITOWN KEV:
    Hm. I don't think my beef with Obama is that he lacks 'perfection' but rather his treachery and lies, I think you are posing an impossible argument that I for one cannot rebuke since it is a reality that no human being can ever be 'perfect' BUT one can be 'honest' and fulfill promises that were made in exchange for votes. It is THAT simple.

    @Little Kiwi:
    I for one, am not debating his 'stances' but rather the brief that he has filed with the court and the arguments presented therein. But if we are to deviate from the discussion to Obama's record... well then, I don't think you may want to go there: it is pretty dismal - and this is an objective opinion on my behalf based on the facts.

    Obama is not 'bigoted' against the gay community, maybe bigoted of reality and the facts of the prop 8 case.

    Well, I would like to know how you are able to judge my reading level. I've read it and I came to this obvious conclusion. The discussion is not about my reading skills or political ideology, this is about LEGAL FACTS. I've read every document and have followed and researched this case pretty well from the start. I was very skeptical at the beginning but after actually READING and doing my homework on case law and other SCOTUS cases the Plaintiff's arguments, evidence, and conclusions are pretty solid. While Obama's brief was weak, deluded, and just does not FIT into this legal puzzle. It is quite disingenuous that you are challenging me on my reading skills being that your comment reveals that you no doubt failed to read my entire posts and comments.

    Posted by: Jose Soto | Mar 1, 2013 3:54:39 PM

  18. Zlick: But this isn't the first Supreme Court brief from Obama on the issue of Gay equality. He filed one in 2009, opposing Gay equality. He was the one smiling back then, laughing at people like you who support him because he whispers sweet nothings in your ears and you "feel" good and happy and fall all over for him. He's smiling happy now too, since he gets your support for telling you Gay people should only be equal in California. He treats Gay people as less than equal and you love him. So rad!!!!!

    The one who didn't read the brief or understand the situation or have a clue is you Zlick.

    There are many Republicans who personally support equality but who, for "strategic" reasons, politically oppose it. Under your philosophy, you give them credit.

    You must be waving at yourself Zlick....

    Posted by: James E. Pietrangelo, II | Mar 1, 2013 3:55:03 PM

  19. @Ernie,

    That is a fine political ad for Obama.

    Can we know focus on the brief that has been submitted which introduces a warped new '8 state solution' theory that is not based on the facts of the case?

    Thank you.

    Posted by: Jose Soto | Mar 1, 2013 4:03:12 PM

  20. Hi James,

    Nope. I think you're just not listening. He says pretty clearly in the interview at the top of this screen that he himself would rule all states had to allow equal marriage if he were a judge, and points out how the brief alludes to that. It's on narrow grounds for a good reason, but the implication is clear that no gay marriage ban can survive heightened scrutiny, even though first and foremost among those to be struck down as MOST absurd are the ones in states that have "anything but marriage" civil unions or domestic partnerships.

    I'm going to assume you're being obtuse on purpose, to make your own political point. But English is my first language - so I really can grasp what Obama's saying in the interview ... and I read and write legal briefs for a living, so I'm confident in my ability to comprehend the Obama brief as well.

    Thanks for playing though. Now back under the bridge with you!

    Posted by: Zlick | Mar 1, 2013 4:04:09 PM

  21. Little Kiwi: You definitely don't sound like Lt. Choi. Lt. Choi was a brave leader of the Gay-rights movement who stood up for equality time and time again despite criticism from people like you.

    You sound only like you, Little Kiwi, the hater of truth. You can't refute criticism of Obama so you call Obama critics haters and mentally ill. Your tactic is so easy to refute.... How seriously can one even take you Little Kiwi when you don't even use your real name.

    Posted by: James E. Pietrangelo, II | Mar 1, 2013 4:06:39 PM

  22. Actually, Choi and I know each other. I was rather proud to protest and march alongside him for a few years.

    Btw, click my link to see my blog, my name, and all that jazz. "littlekiwi" is a nom de plume, inspired by the character in gay NYC author Ethan Mordden's books.
    or click that. me on canadian national news talking about gay stuff :-) i aint hiding, sugarpie.

    I haven't yet used the term "haters" or "mentally ill", actually. I think the specifics of your criticism, as with Choi's statement about Obama being the worst President in American History, reveal that you've lost the plot.

    but yeah, click my name to see who i am and what i do, and why i do it. it's that simple.

    but calling me a hater of truth is hilarious. feel free to link us to your own page or videos where you put a brave face to your beliefs.
    you know, like me.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 1, 2013 4:15:38 PM

  23. @Zlick
    "He says pretty clearly in the interview at the top of this screen that he himself would rule all states had to allow equal marriage if he were a judge."

    Yes, I get that. It would be nice to have Chief Justice Obama, but that is NOT reality since Obama himself ran for PRESIDENT his career choice was politics not law.

    In the end if you are easily persuaded by "what ifs" and "I wish I was" and other fantastic hypothetical stories then I guess your passion is screenwriting not law. Obama is clearly only throwing you a bone for you to feast on. There is NOTHING wrong with that. You can feast on that for as long as you please. I am focused on the meat and potatoes not the bone. I am focused on the legal arguments that his Justice Dept as put together. I am focused on reality.

    REALITY: stakes are pretty high, if you get it wrong it will set all the work you and I and everybody else has worked for for the past years. Just think about that. I am more concerned about our community. You are more concerned about a politician.

    Posted by: Jose Soto | Mar 1, 2013 4:15:43 PM

  24. Zlick: Obama saying he would as a judge rule in favor of nationwide equality is meaningless, when as president (which is what he actually is) he argued for limited equality, i.e., inequality. There are Republicans who say that Gays should be allowed to marry, but who don't actually support inclusion in the party's platform--the point being that anybody can say they are for full equality for political purposes and then oppose full equality or not act for it. Besides not arguing for full equality in the brief, Obama also failed to argue for suspect classification--something you omit to mention altogether.

    English is your first language? Couldn't have guessed that. I thought Childish was your first language.

    You read and write legal briefs for a living? I am not impressed. Nor is anyone else. Plenty of us are attorneys who read and write briefs--some of us even litigate for Gay equality--again, unlike Obama who argues in briefs for "limited equality," i.e. inequality.

    Posted by: James E. Pietrangelo, II | Mar 1, 2013 4:22:02 PM

  25. one step at a time, kids...

    correcting the mistakes of Prop 8 is one thing, especially since he's addressing the SCOTUS...

    everyone keeps calling for an executive order, but we're still seeing individual states passing marriage equality laws. The man still has 3 more years...sit tight.

    Posted by: KDNA | Mar 1, 2013 4:23:46 PM

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