Melody Barnes, who oversees President Obama's Domestic Policy Council, told a group of students at Boston College Law School that she sympathized with a questioner who expressed support for marriage equality
According to The Huffington Post, Paul Sousa, a cofounder of the LGBT rights organization Equal Rep, asked Barnes, "I know there isn't much you can say right now because it's your job to defend President Obama even if he is wrong on a domestic policy stance. What I would like to know is whether or not you support equal civil marriage rights for gay and lesbian Americans, and if so, are you speaking or will you speak with President Obama on this civil rights matter?"
Sousa reports, "For her response, Ms. Barnes did state that she supports marriage equality and can appreciate the frustration that our community is feeling."
Meanwhile, Britt Mosman, a J.D. candidate at the law school who was also at the event, recalled a less definitive answer from the presidential adviser.
"Barnes did express her own personal sympathy with the questioner's position in favor of same-sex marriage," Mosman told The Huffington Post. But Barnes also acknowledged "that she not only advises the President, but she also works for him."
Despite slight disparities among the accounts, if Mosman and Sousa's reports are correct, Barnes would become the highest-ranking White House official to publicly signal support for same-sex marriage.
The exchange was allegedly recorded and should be available shortly.