During a recent appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, former presidential speechwriter Jon Lovett revealed that he officiated a same-sex marriage on White House property between his friends Steve and Justin, during President Obama's first term in office.
"I went into politics for the reasons most people do: ambition, self-righteousness, and a desire to help others," Lovett said in a segment broadcast on popular storytelling podcast The Moth Radio Hour, according to Politico's Mike Allen in his daily briefing for D.C. insiders. "I remembered that I worked at the White House, and I could give tours any time I want," Lovett said.
The New Civil Rights Movement notes that the podcast has yet to be made public online, but several sites have published the text of Lovett's story.
“Steve and Justin and I walked through the double doors, into the ground floors of the West Wing, past the Situation Room, down the hall past the offices of the [National Security Council], up the stairs by the cabinet room and the Oval Office, through the doors of the Colonnade that connect the offices of the West Wing to the stately rooms of the residence, and we turned right down the stone path that jutted into the Rose Garden and then I said, 'Steve, do you take Justin to be your lawfully wedded husband? And Justin, do you take Steve?'” Lovett continued.
The well-known writer, most recently a principal screenwriter and producer for Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed HBO drama The Newsroom, says he officiated the ceremony without the knowledge of White House staff — during a time when President Obama’s views on same-sex marriage were still ambiguous to the public.
"We were very nervous," Lovett recalled in Aspen. "They were nervous because they were getting married. I was nervous because I snuck into my boss’s house to perform a wedding against his wishes in his backyard."
While it's unclear at what time the alleged first same-sex marriage at the White House took place, Washington, D.C., began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2010. President Obama didn’t officially endorse marriage equality until two years later.
As for proof that Lovett's covert operation took place as he said it did, he told the Colorado crowd that there was just one piece of concrete evidence, solidified after the couple "kissed modestly" to seal their union:
"And then I filed the paperwork — the only real evidence that this took place, because I had to list the address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave."