Barack Obama called himself a “fierce advocate” for America’s queers. Yesterday that community won a huge victory in its battle for equality. Surely Mr. Obama was out there dancing in the streets too?
The White House’s official reaction to the ruling was this: “The President has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans.”
See what Mr. Obama’s spokesflack Ben LaBolt did there? Obama believes Prop 8 to be “divisive and discriminatory,” so he’ll “continue to promote equality,” just not every kind of equality.
So no, Prop 8 did not change the president’s mind about same-sex marriage, and nobody at this website expected it to. “He supports civil unions, doesn’t personally support gay marriage though he supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, and has opposed divisive and discriminatory initiatives like Prop. 8 in other states,” says a White House aide who refused to be named — because stating the obvious is still a cardinal sin.
In reacting to the ruling, the president’s statement also gave no hint of support or lack thereof for Judge Vaugn Walker’s actual ruling. This let’s him maintain that he doesn’t like laws that endorse discrimination, but that he also doesn’t support “stripping 7 million people of their right to vote,” as NOM’s Brian Brown puts it. This is also the president’s approach to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: He doesn’t support the law, but nor does he support the most direct way (executive order) to killing it.
We know where the president stands on marriage equality. Plainly, he does not support it. So I won’t fault the guy for being dishonest. I will fault him for continuing to ask for our votes and our dollars when he continues straddling the line on just how far he’ll go to fight what he knows to be discrimination.
Update: On MSNBC this morning, White House advisor David Axelrod reiterated much of the same.