You would think the president knows what goes on under his own roof. But according to one of his former speechwriters, Barack Obama isn’t in on everything that happens in the White House. In this case, the secret was a big one: a gay couple married in the White House at a time when then president was officially opposed to same-sex weddings.
The former speechwriter, Jon Lovett, is openly gay (and was closely linked to Ronan Farrow.) Since leaving the White House in 2011, Lovett has spent his time in Hollywood, serving as a writer on the HBO series “The Newsroom.” Lovett is pretty irreverent (and very funny), but when it comes to breaking the rules, presiding over a gay marriage in the White House has to take the (wedding) cake.
Lovett recounted the tale for a storytelling show on Aspen Public Radio. The segment has yet to air, but Politico reported it anyway. He doesn’t provide the full name of his friends, but Lovett notes that he was able to give White House tours anytime he wanted.
“Steve and Justin and I walked through the double doors into the ground floor of the West Wing, past the Situation Room, down the hall past the offices of the [NSC], 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?’”
“We were very nervous; they were nervous because they were getting married. I was nervous because I snuck into my boss’ house to perform a wedding against his wishes in his backyard. You can say what you will about the first same-sex marriage at the White House, at the very least, it was quite rude. … They kissed modestly, … and then I filed the paperwork — the only real evidence that this took place, because I had to list the address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Lovett didn’t specify exactly when the wedding took place, although marriage was legal in the District of Columbia starting in 2010. As a reminder, this was sometime in the first Obama administration before the president had officially “evolved.” Word of a same-sex marriage happening in the White House would not have been a welcome event. Lovett also didn’t explain his credentials for performing the ceremony.
Until Justin and Steve come forward with the marriage certificate, we just have Lovett’s word to go on. But if it is true, it’s another reminder that even in the highest corners of government, the opposition to marriage equality was already tumbling years ago. The only question now is, when will the first non-secret gay wedding take place in the White House?
Photo credit: Nick Amoscato