Not even a full day after delivering his State of the Union speech, the president appeared at a town hall in Tampa and fielded a question from a Hecter, who asked, “All right, I’m Hector and I’m a student at UT. And my question is, last night you talked about repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and my question is what are you doing now to put in motion so that same-sex couples and homosexuals are treated as equal citizens of the United States, i.e., same-sex marriages and the thousand-plus benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy after marriage?” Heh. What’d you think the president had to say?
More platipussies! Oh, we mean platitudes! From a White House transcript:
Look, as I said last night, my belief is, is that a basic principle in our Constitution is that if you’re obeying the law, if you’re following the rules, that you should be treated the same, regardless of who you are. (Applause.) I think that principle applies to gay and lesbian couples. So at the federal level, one of the things that we’re trying to do is to make sure that partnerships are recognized for purposes of benefits so that hospital visitation, for example, is something that is permitted; that Social Security benefits or pension benefits or others, that same-sex couples are recognized in all those circumstances.
I think that we’ve got to — we actually have an opportunity of passing a law that’s been introduced in Congress right now, and my hope is this year we can get it done, just for federal employees and federal workers. A lot of companies, on their own, some of the best-run companies have adopted these same practices. I think it’s the right thing to do and it makes sense for us to take a leadership role in ensuring that people are treated the same. (Applause.)
Look, if you are — regardless of your personal opinions, the notion that somebody who’s working really hard for 30 years can’t take their death benefits and transfer them to the person that they love the most in the world and who has supported them all their lives, that just doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem right. (Applause.) And I think it’s the right thing to do.
Okay, look, guys — listen, everybody. I’ve got to take off.
The audience screamed back: “NO!”
Know what wasn’t in there? Any mention of his own previously stated beliefs that he doesn’t support gay marriage. So what he appears to be supporting here, then, is federal recognition of civil unions. Or are we jumping the gun?