A Lot of Speculation, But No Change From Obama on Marriage
Despite all of the chatter of an Obama administration that might be on the precipice of endorsing marriage equality, senior adviser David Plouffe dodged a question Sunday about whether that should be the policy of the Democratic Party in its platform.
"We don't even have a platform committee yet, much less a platform," he claimed on ABC's This Week, though host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that draft language for the plank already exists.
The party will adopt a platform, as it always does, during its convention in September, just a few months away. Numerous Democratic officials, including House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and the convention's chairman, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, have endorsed the goals of the plank.
The week leading up the Plouffe interview had included speculation that the Obama administration might be "evolving" on marriage equality. The Washington Post reported that "a Democratic strategist who has discussed these matters directly with Obama's campaign inner circle" said that a change of position "has been discussed seriously at high levels," which "means it’s not out of the question."
The Washington Blade cited an unnamed "informed source" that claimed the odds of an evolution before Election Day are 50-50.
But Sunday, Plouffe repeated what the president's press secretary has often said: "The president has spoke to this issue. I certainly don't have anything to add to that today."
Instead, Plouffe pointed out the list of faults the Republican presidential candidate will have as LGBT voters make their choice in November.
"Here's what I think is important," he said. "What is going to be in the Republican platform, if they're consistent with what their presidential candidates have said, is to reinstitute 'don't ask, don't tell,' to defend aggressively the Defense of Marriage Act. On the other side, you have the president, who's had groundbreaking progress for gays and lesbians in this country. So I think there's going to be a big difference on these issues of fairness and equality."
Plouffe said the president is "very proud of what he's accomplished" and pointed out that "he's delivered some really important victories."
Those victories include signing a hate-crimes law, repealing "don't ask, don't tell," and extending some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.
Many have called on the president to take a new stand for marriage equality, which he's said before is a position of his that's "evolving." Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren recently became the latest to call on Obama to support full marriage equality instead of civil unions.
“I want to see the president evolve because I believe that is right," she told the Blade.
When it comes to his position on same-sex marriage, opponents of marriage equality have been quick to claim they have the same stance as the president. New Jersey governor Chris Christie made that claim as a defense for vetoing a marriage equality bill in the state. The governor even suggested that Obama had been cowardly and needed to "show some courage" by explicitly saying whether he opposed ballot measures on marriage equality across the country.
The president opposed Proposition 8 in California as a candidate in 2008. But since Christie's comments, a spokesman for the Obama administration said in a statement on March 16 that the ballot initiative in North Carolina "would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples" and "that’s why the 9resident does not support it."
And last week it was first lady Michelle Obama who added to speculation by reminding voters that whoever becomes president will get to make picks to the U.S Supreme Court. "Let us not forget," she said during two New York fund-raisers, according to Metro Weekly, "the impact those decisions will have on our lives for decades to come — on our privacy and security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly, and, yes, love whomever we choose."
The next day, the White House rebuffed any notion that the first lady is ahead of the president on marriage equality, saying she was referring only to opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act.
The marriage question comes after about seven minutes in: