An aide to President Obama, being grilled on LGBT issues at the Netroots Nation conference Friday, said a 1996 political questionnaire that asserted Obama's support for marriage equality was filled out by someone else.
Daily Kos associate editor Kaili Joy Gray (pictured, left) questioned Dan Pfeiffer, Obama's communications director, extensively about gay issues and other progressive concerns at the conference, an annual gathering of new-media activists, held this year in Minneapolis.
She asked Pfeiffer about a questionnaire submitted to Outlines (now Windy City Times), a Chicago LGBT newspaper, in 1996, when Obama was running for Illinois state senator -- his first run for office. It was sent by his campaign office to Outlines reporter Trudy Ring, now The Advocate's copy editor.
Gray noted that on the questionnaire he said, "I support same-sex marriage, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." She said that Obama's position seems to have evolved from being more supportive of civil rights to less supportive. "Is the president going to evolve again and get back to supporting civil rights on gay marriage?" she asked Pfeiffer.
Pfeiffer responded, "If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the president." However, it does bear Obama's signature. Pfeiffer contended that Obama has been consistent in opposing marriage rights but that his position is evolving because of his interactions with gay people.
Windy City Times posted a news item Friday standing by its reporting and noting that another 1996 Obama questionnaire, for the now-defunct Illinois political action committee Impact, contained similar statements supporting marriage equality.
Gray also repeatedly asked Pfeiffer about implementation of "don't ask, don't tell" repeal, saying, "So when are you going to stop kicking people out of the military?" According to the National Journal, "Each time, he gave her some version of 'soon.'"