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White House Same-Sex Marriage Games

Yesterday’s comments about same-sex marriage by Vice-President Biden which the White House quickly walked back were a hot topic all day today, with both the White House and the Obama campaign doing everything it can to convince reporters that, no, President Obama doesn’t really support same-sex marriage even though pretty much every one thinks he does:

Vice President Joe Biden’s comment that he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage had the White House scrambling on Monday to align the vice president’s remarks with President Obama’s “evolving” views on the issue.

“Nothing has changed,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “Policy positions haven’t changed.”

Carney was pelted with questions on the topic at his daily briefing, which grew tense when the press secretary deflected them. Carney denied it when one reporter accused the White House of “trying to have it both ways.”

“I have no update on the president’s personal views. What the vice president said yesterday was to make the same point that the president has made previously,” Carney said–that committed, loving couples, both gay and straight, deserve to have their rights upheld.

“The vice president—what he said about the protection about rights of citizens—is completely consistent with the president’s position on this issue,” Carney said. On Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who expressed support for same-sex marriage earlier in the day, Carney said, “Duncan was asked a question about his personal views on the issue, and he offered them.”

The Education Secretary got thrown into the mix today after he said that he believed same-sex marriage should be legal after being asked a direct question about it on a morning show this morning. The coincidence of the Vice-President and a Cabinet member both seeming to be at odds with the President on such a hot button issue two days in a row has raised speculation by some that this is part of a “test the waters” effort by the campaign designed to lead to the President himself saying he supports same-sex marriage being legalized. Given the vehemence with which both the White House and the campaign have distanced themselves from that position, it seems pretty unlikely that would be the case. More likely what we’re dealing with here is Joe Biden being Joe Biden and Arne Duncan expressing a personal opinion that doesn’t really reflect Administration policy.

Of course, as I’ve said before, the absurdity of the game that the Obama people seem to be playing on this issue is really quite apparently. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t believe that the President supports same-sex marriage but that he isn’t saying so publicly because someone has told him it would be too politically risky. That’s why you see the Obama campaign talking more about Mitt Romney’s position on same-sex marriage and playing hide-the-ball with Barack Obama’s:

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod on Monday pivoted sharply to Mitt Romney’s views on gay marriage when reporters pressed him on the president’s stance on the issue.

On a conference call with reporters, Axelrod said there’s a “clear distinction” between Obama’s views on gay-rights issues and the presumptive GOP nominee’s views.

“There couldn’t be a starker contrast on this issue than with Gov. Romney, who has funded efforts to roll back marriage laws in California and other places,” Axelrod told reporters on the call.

In turning to Romney, Axelrod ducked a question from a reporter on whether Obama supports gay marriage.

The president’s campaign team is getting the questions in the wake of Vice President Biden’s weekend comments that he was “absolutely comfortable” with men marrying men and women marrying women.

The fact that Romney and Obama have exactly the same position on same-sex marriage seems to have escaped Axelrod, or at least it’s not something that he wants to remind people of.

ABC News White House Correspondent put the “why not just admit it already?” question to Jay Carney today, and once again his answer was a feat of substance-free verbal jujitsu:

And Carney had more to say at another point in today’s press briefing:

There are people who take less time trying to figure out who to marry than it’s taking Barack Obama to “evolve” on the issue of same-sex marriage. He ought to just come out and admit that he’s doing this purely for political purposes already, because anyone who pays attention to what the White House and the campaign are saying for even half a second can see just how disingenuous they’re being.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Console says:

    On one hand, Obama and his team are stupid if they think anything good can come from dancing around the subject.

    On the other hand, the media pisses me off with its superficial “gotcha” analysis. Obama would sign a bill repealing DOMA, Romney wouldn’t. Romney supports a federal marriage amendment, Obama doesn’t. Whether or not Obama says gay marriage is moral is immaterial.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. @Console: “Obama would sign a bill repealing DOMA, Romney wouldn’t.”

    If only Obama’s views had “evolved” sufficiently back, oh so long ago, when there was a Democratic majority in the House that could have conceivably passed such a bill.

    “Romney supports a federal marriage amendment, Obama doesn’t.”

    And, if the president actually had any role in amending the constitution whatsoever, or if such an amendment actually had a snowball’s chance in hell of actually passing Congress and being ratified by 38 states, this might actually matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  3. @Chris Lawrence:

    Excellent points on both counts. I will say, though, as I did in my post yesterday, that I do give the Administration credit for the repeal of DADT and the decision to not defend the Constitutionality of DOMA in Court. Romney would not have done either, which is one of the reasons I have problems with the GOP when it comes to social issues like gay rights.

    That said, the political game being played here is rather obvious and getting quite tiresome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. Davebo says:

    If only Obama’s views had “evolved” sufficiently back, oh so long ago, when there was a Democratic majority in the House that could have conceivably passed such a bill.

    Spending the capital so the Senate can once again filibuster it? Or are you saying the Republicans in the Senate would not have filibustered it? Pure fantasy IMO. And in the end we still have DOMA on the books and the filibusterers crow to what we can no longer call “the base” but the party about the fact that the half white guy doesn’t believe in the sanctity of marriage.

    If only…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  5. Console says:

    @Chris Lawrence:

    Everything matters. From executive orders related same-sex partners of federal employees to don’t ask don’t tell to DOMA, etc. etc.

    Part of being conservative is putting your own privileged interests ahead of everyone else’s but at least don’t try to pretend you aren’t screwing people over when you do. Yes a Romney election would negatively impact gay rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  6. John Cole says:

    So Biden is asked a question, says he is comfortable with it. Duncan is asked a direct question and responds to it.

    Doug’s takeaway- THE WHITE HOUSE IS PLAYING GAMES.

    I was unaware that Obama’s 11 dimensional chess was so powerful that he now controls the questions reporters ask. It’s amazing, really. That Obama is really one of a kind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  7. @John Cole:

    No, he’s just your typical hypocritical and cynical politician.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

  8. Kylopod says:

    I think Obama’s unusually transparent phoniness on this issue has a lot to do with the fact that there are few if any other issues for which the shift in public opinion has been so rapid. In 2008, no serious presidential candidate up to that point had openly backed SSM, not even “progressive” favorites like Howard Dean or John Edwards. In 2016, it is likely that every serious Democrat will back it. In just eight years, a view that was considered perfectly mainstream in the Democratic Party will be seen as passe if not backwards and reactionary. We already are seeing this happen right before our eyes.

    But what we need to realize is that the process was more evolutionary than might be apparent. Even though mainstream Democrats in recent history have often opposed SSM in name, they have done little in practice to stand in its way. From the beginning, “civil unions” were basically a semantic device enabling lawmakers to create something very much like marriage without explicitly calling it that. It was an exercise in conflict avoidance, an attempt to expand the practical rights of gay couples while avoiding offending too many social conservatives.

    Obama’s positions are a case in point. Not only is there considerable evidence that he once openly supported SSM, and that he initially admitted to backing civil unions on strategic rather than ideological grounds, he has consistently opposed just about every anti-SSM measure, from Prop 8 to DOMA, and he has done nothing to stop its passage in several states. The president doesn’t make law, and he certainly doesn’t make judicial decisions. If he were to suddenly announce that he supports SSM, I really am not sure what more he could do, in practical terms, to further its advance than what he has already done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  9. Hey Norm says:

    Oooh…look…a partisan pseudo-pundit parsing paragraphs of politicians.
    Pathetic.
    Actions speak louder than words.
    Today people at freer than before Obama.
    Romney invested a ton of money to deny the rights of Californians.
    That difference would make for interesting analysis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  10. An Interested Party says:

    If only Obama’s views had “evolved” sufficiently back, oh so long ago, when there was a Democratic majority in the House that could have conceivably passed such a bill.

    Really? Blue Dog Democrats would have passed such a bill?

    No, he’s just your typical hypocritical and cynical politician.

    Yes, of course…libertarians are the only people who are pure…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  11. michael reynolds says:

    I support Obama. He’s being a cynical chickensh*t on this issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  12. Hey Norm says:

    Kylopod…
    You are correct…this is a matter for legislatures and, if necessary, the courts.
    There is also the Egypt/Iran problem to consider. The reflexive opposition by Republicans to everything Obama actually endorses could damage the movement. Unfortunately it allows hacks like McCain to make cheap political points on the Arab spring, and Doug to vent his irrational hatred on this issue.

    Jesus-H-Christ….openly gay men can serve in the military because of Obama. Yet Cheney turned his back on his daughter. But Obama is playing politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  13. J says:

    I get the feeling we may not be hearing from Joe for a while……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: Yet Cheney turned his back on his daughter.

    Is EVERYTHING you say a sack of crap, or just what you post here?

    Cheney has always had a very solid relationship with his daughter. He fully accepted her coming out. John Edwards tried to pry a wedge between them in 2004, and got bitch-slapped for it.

    I understand how reality is a bit challenging and too complicated for you, but can’t you keep it to yourself every now and then? Do you have to inflict your simplistic delusions on everyone?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

  15. ratufa says:

    Consider yourself blessed, Doug, that your presidential candidate can openly support gay marriage without having to worry about the political consequences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  16. Hey Norm says:

    @ Jenos…
    Please link to where Cheney supported gay marriage while he was in office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  17. al-Ameda says:

    The fact is, most national Democratic politicians are afraid of the issue.

    President Obama, if not afraid, is certainly trying hard to deny Republicans another social issue that motivates base Republicans (who are already fully into the We-Hate-The Marxist-Obama mode.) If the goal is to frustrate Republicans more than he frustrates the Democratic base, then I suppose he is successful on this.

    It seems so transparent that his strategy is to give his base a nod and a wink, without giving Republicans the satisfaction of a direct statement in support of gay marriage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: Stop moving the goalposts, you clot.

    You said: Cheney turned his back on his daughter. And your sole evidence is that they disagree on one issue — one that the two of them are quite comfortable about agreeing to disagree over. Further, Dick Cheney has repeatedly said that his personal position is that gay marriage should be left up to the states to decide.

    Cheney has welcomed his daughter’s partner and celebrated the birth of their children, and in her own biography, Mary Cheney says the following:

    Cheney discusses how she came out to her parents, noting her father’s initial reaction: “You know, look, you’re my daughter and I love you and I just want you to be happy.”

    Please, tell us your qualifications to report on the relationship between Dick and Mary Cheney more authoritatively than Dick and Mary Cheney. Or cite some source that Dick EVER “turned his back” on his daughter.

    Or, alternately, follow your standard path of simply proclaiming how right you are and offering not a single shred of evidence. With, of course, your standard totally-unjustified sneering. That’s always entertaining.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  19. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Further, Dick Cheney has repeatedly said that his personal position is that gay marriage should be left up to the states to decide.

    I realize that that’s a separate issue, but I think it is the cowards way out to let states decide if they want to deny equal protection of the law to whom they prefer to do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  20. Hey Norm says:

    Dick Cheney…
    “…The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support. I do believe that the historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis…”
    Hardly full-throated support…rather a politically expedient stand. Especially from the VP of a party that endorses a federal ban on same-sex marriage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  21. Jeremy R says:

    The fact that Romney and Obama have exactly the same position on same-sex marriage seems to have escaped Axelrod, or at least it’s not something that he wants to remind people of.

    This is a totally ridiculous statement. Romney donated 10 grand to the National Organization for Marriage, making him one of the larger financiers of that virulently bigoted, anti-gay-rights outfit. When has the President ever financed opponents of the LGBT community?

    Romney has also signed NOM’s 2012 Presidential Pledge:

    I, _______, pledge to the American people that if elected President, I will:

    One, support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification.

    Two, nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and to applying the original meaning of the Constitution, appoint an attorney general similarly committed, and thus reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution.

    Three, defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act vigorously in court.

    Four, establish a presidential commission on religious liberty to investigate and document reports of American who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if need.

    Five, advance legislation to return to the people of the District of Columbia their right to vote on marriage.

    Obviously this puts Romney opposite the President on all five points.

    Care to retract Doug?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  22. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: There’s a principled argument for that case. The 10th Amendment says that matters not reserved for the federal government are the responsibility of the states — and it’s arguable that marriage is one such matter.

    Oh, I’m not saying that it’s a correct argument, but it’s certainly a debatable point.

    Thanks for giving me a chance to discuss the matter civilly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  23. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: So, you’re walking back your “Cheney turned his back on his daughter” now? Your grand revelation is that Dick Cheney didn’t fully support gay marriaage?

    Good lord, you make gutless cowards say “at least I’m not as bad as that guy.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  24. Hey Norm says:

    @ Jenos …
    I’m not walking back anything.
    Cheney endorsed states rights while his administration endorsed a constitutional amendment over-riding states rights. Typical Republican hypocrisy on states rights do no Suprise. But He played cowardly political games on an issue important to his daughter. I call that supporting party over family. Which explains the cowardice and guilt on display when he snapped at Edwards as you called it.
    You can interpret his cowardice and his hypocrisy anyway you want in your typically craven effort to aggrandize yourself. I’m unimpressed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  25. michael reynolds says:

    Have you guys seen this? The right wing radio guy who forced Romney to give up Grennell is now attacking Romney for being so weak he caved to the pressure. Ah hah hah ha! It does not get any better than that.

    http://thelastword.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/07/11584427-fischer-romney-pushed-around-by-yokel?lite

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  26. Hey Norm says:

    Like I said…actions speak louder than words.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: What a surprise: you don’t know the first rule of holes.

    You said, and I quote, Cheney turned his back on his daughter. He never did any such thing. Neither he nor his daughter are on record saying just the opposite.

    The rest of your blather is just trying to change the subject and obscure your initial lie.

    Cheney turned his back on his daughter.

    Support it or withdraw it. Stop pretending you never said it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  28. Hey Norm says:

    Jenos:
    “…I understand how reality is a bit challenging and too complicated for you, but can’t you keep it to yourself every now and then? Do you have to inflict your simplistic delusions on everyone?”
    Jenos:
    “…Thanks for giving me a chance to discuss the matter civilly…”

    Someone is confused.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  29. Hey Norm says:

    I have not once said I didnt say it.
    Stop lying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  30. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: Cheney turned his back on his daughter.

    Support it or withdraw it. You got nothing else to say of interest to me.

    And you think you “got” me because I spoke civilly to someone else who spoke civilly, while treating you with a fraction of the scorn you deserve?

    You can’t support your “the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey are running the Tea Party” blather, and “the Cleveland bombers don’t represent the Occupy movement” BS.

    I wish you had just enough self-awareness to realize how stupid you look.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

  31. Hey Norm says:

    Jenos you poor confused troubled soul…
    I stood by my statement on Cheney by pointing out his duplicitous actions didn’t match his words.
    The Koch Brothers and Dick Armey do run the Tea Party and it’s well documented much as you might wish it wasn’t.
    And a few anarchists in a warehouse in Cleveland do not represent the OWS movement, much as you might like it to be so.

    And you are a proven liar.
    So there is that…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  32. John Cole says:

    Republicans have trashed gay rights for decades. Obama won’t explicitly come out in favor of gay marriage.

    Libertarian takeaway- BOTH SIDES DO IT.

    This is why we mock “reasonable Republicans” and glibertarians. Yet Doug will never, ever learn.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  33. anjin-san says:

    No, he’s just your typical hypocritical and cynical politician.

    If you have a problem with cynicism, it must be pretty had to live with yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  34. Herb says:

    Doug, you need to lay off the anti-Obama juice, my friend.

    This….

    The fact that Romney and Obama have exactly the same position on same-sex marriage

    is not a fact.

    This is a fact: Either Obama or Romney will be elected president in November. Not Johnson, not Paul, not Roseanne Barr. Obama or Romney. Those are the choices.

    If you really truly care about gay issues, not just in a theoretical principled way, but in a real-life I-know-some-gay-people way………you gotta go with Obama. So he’s not going to push gay marriage in an election year…..shocking, shocking that a candidate would do anything for political purposes in an election year, I know…..but he’s also not going to mount the kind of sustained offensive against gay people that the Republicans have mounting for 20 years or more.

    I have to agree with John Cole here on the gliberatarian stuff. Here’s a great opportunity for libertarians to back the right side…..and they can’t. They won’t. They’ll complain about the politics and the hypocrisy, and when the Republican finally gets elected, they’ll shut up….you know, don’t want to endanger the tax cut.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  35. Herb says:

    Also, can’t think of a better description for Gary Johnson’s switch to the LP than this:

    “He ought to just come out and admit that he’s doing this purely for political purposes already”

    He’d probably still be a Republican if he hadn’t done so poorly in the primaries.

    But by all means, support that guy and slam the other guy who’s actually advanced the cause of gay rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  36. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Herb: Let me clarify that for you, Herb:

    If you really truly care about gay issues, not just in a theoretical principled way, but in as the single issue on which you vote, the one defining issue in this election, the one matter you care about more than anything else in the world… you gotta go with Obama.

    If Romney is elected, the progress of gay rights might — might be slowed a bit from the tremendous advances of the past few decades. But I don’t think so. The real fights are being held at the state level. Romney’s never really expressed much interest in the whole gay rights agenda, and is seen as rather “gay-friendly” in his personal life. I’d wager President Romney would focus on the economy, and not give much more than lip service to the cause.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  37. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: You say you “stand by your words,” but you won’t even repeat them, let alone show any proof of them: Cheney turned his back on his daughter.

    And your other nonsense is equally unsupported. The Koch Brothers and Dick Armey do run the Tea Party and it’s well documented… but not well documented enough to provide any of them. Come on, you don’t seriously expect me — or anyone else — to take your word for… well, anything?

    And let’s look at those Cleveland Occupy bombers. One was important enough within the group to organize events in their name. Another was important enough within the group to sign legal documents in their name. All five were members, and they all met through the organization. Was that just some wild coincidence or something?

    But back to the Cheneys… I can’t believe you consider Dick Cheney’s lack of full support for gay marriage equivalent to Cheney turned his back on his daughter.” And that was before I did some digging and showed the two had always been close and supportive of each other, and there was never any great rift over her sexual identity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  38. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    “If Romney is elected, the progress of gay rights might — might be slowed a bit from the tremendous advances of the past few decades.”

    There’s no “might” about it. Romney’s a Republican. The Republican party is hostile to gay rights.

    Anyone curious about how Romney is going to deal with gay issues need only ask Richard Grenell.

    Also…

    “The real fights are being held at the state level.”

    There is one reason for this and one reason only. The complete failure of the GOP’s effort to get a federal gay marriage ban on the books.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  39. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Herb: There’s no “might” about it. Romney’s a Republican. The Republican party is hostile to gay rights.

    Anyone curious about how Romney is going to deal with gay issues need only ask Richard Grenell.

    You can’t see the dichotomy there? Romney originally took on Grenell in full knowledge that he ws gay. If Romney was as anti-gay as you would portray him, Grenell would never have been around for Romney to toss under the bus.

    Romney’s worked with and socialized with a lot of gay people. And there has never been a single report that he’s anti-gay.

    Don’t talk and think in hateful stereotypes. They will never serve you well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  40. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    “Romney’s worked with and socialized with a lot of gay people. And there has never been a single report that he’s anti-gay.”

    Um….he signed that NOM pledge. That’s kind of a pretty significant indicator that he is not a gay rights advocate but rather….you know, the opposite. The fact that he’s a member of a party with an explicit anti-gay agenda is also a pretty good indicator.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  41. Rob in CT says:

    Yes, the Obama Administration is playing a ridiculous game here. Apparently, they believe that it will help them/hurt Romney somehow at the polls. And that stinks.

    However, if you are on the pro-gay rights side of this, the fact is the Dems have (often reluctantly, tardily, and I’m sure at times for less than noble reasons) advanced the ball, whereas the GOP is fighting tooth and nail to push it back.

    Romney may be personally fine with gay people. He may even be fine with gay marriage for all I know. That’s not really the point. What matters is policy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  42. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Herb: And Obama signed a questionnaire to ban all handguns. All he has to do is make one or two token, insignificant gestures and they’re off his back. Maybe a line or two in a speech or something.

    Looking back on that list you posted… I got no love for NOM (they spammed my cell phone once, and I carry a grudge), but that’s the kind of crap Romney could do technically honor and still achieve a whole lot of nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  43. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? In the coming one-party-state, homosexuals will get whatever they want. Homosexuals are at the very top of the PC pecking order. My guess is within a couple of years, there will be a lawsuit for restroactive benefits such as retroactive social security benefits or tax benefits.

    And people who claim to be libertarians or moderates will be posting what a great idea it is to give reparations-like benefits to homosexuals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  44. Hey Norm says:

    The Grenell thing isn’t about gay rights…it’s about Romney’s spinelessness and inability to stand any sort of ground. If you are willing to wave the white flag at a fool like Bryan Fischer what chance do you stand against anyone? That is why Norquist said:

    “…We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it…”

    Romney is the perfect tool of a Republican Party that is being run by fools and zealots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  45. @Hey Norm: It’s worth pointing out that Cheney had no problem running under the 2000 GOP Platform which stated:

    We support the traditional definition of “marriage” as the legal union of one man and one woman, and we believe that federal judges and bureaucrats should not force states to recognize other living arrangements as marriages.

    The 2004 platform was even worse, but here’s just a small section:

    We believe, and the social science confirms, that the well-being of children is best accomplished in the environment of the home, nurtured by their mother and father anchored by the bonds of marriage.

    So Cheney had no problem running under a platform that says that his daughter and her partner make inferior parents?

    In addition, did Cheney lift one finger or say one word when the GOP when batcrap crazy after the Lawrence v. Texas decision? The people on his side of the aisle wanted to make sure they could throw gay and lesbian couples in prison.

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  46. Hey Norm says:

    @ Timothy Watson…
    In 2004, due to developments in Mass and California, the Bush/Cheney Administration was suporting a Constitutional Amendment which read:

    “…Marriage in the United States shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman…”

    So while Cheny was saying one thing, which would seem to be in support of his daughter, he was actually doing something else. In effect he was saying it’s a states rights issue…but as a Republican (read hypocrit)…he is at all times willing to usurp states rights when it serves his ideology.
    Does that mean he doesn’t care deeply about his daughter? No. But on the issue of gay marriage (the topic of this thread) party dogma was more important to him. Of course now that he is out of office his tune has changed. And really that’s the worse kind of cowardice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  47. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    “And Obama signed a questionnaire to ban all handguns.”

    That’s not relevant to this discussion. Sorry.

    Gun control is not on the ballot in North Carolina today. Gay marriage is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  48. Hey Norm says:

    From Gallup posted today:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/154529/Half-Americans-Support-Legal-Gay-Marriage.aspx

    It can’t be said better than Sullivan says it:

    “…What you’re seeing is the slow beaching of the elderly, white GOP on the shore of a multi-cultural and increasingly tolerant America. The difference between Dems and Indies is small; between those two groups and the Christianist party, there’s a gulf. To be honest, I don’t much care of Obama or Biden or any presidential candidate feels about this subject. What I care about is what they can do. And all they can do is stop defending DOMA in federal courts, and, er, that’s it. The rest is for the Congress, to repeal DOMA, and let the federal government return to its long pre-1996 position of recognizing all marriages that are legal in any state, and applying full federal benefits to them.
    Can we please stop this absurd game of wanting presidential candidates or presidents to solve this problem? They cannot. It is not within their constitutional powers. And we do not need their approval. History will provide the judgment…”

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  49. Jeremy R says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Romney’s worked with and socialized with a lot of gay people. And there has never been a single report that he’s anti-gay.

    What do you call this, in 2008?

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705258483/Despite-speculation-about-2012-Romney-focuses-on-GOP-in-08.html

    Romney donated $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage, Fehrnstrom said.

    “The governor feels strongly that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman, and one of the most high-profile fights on this subject is happening in California,” Fehrnstrom said.

    The contribution from Romney, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is “completely unconnected” to the church’s own involvement in the issue, Fehrnstrom said.

    If your response is election year pandering to / positioning himself with base voters, I’d probably agree, but that kind of money also has consequences, and in this case it helped tear the right to marry away from gay Californians. There’s no weaseling out of it for him — Romney gets to own having been big money involved in the prop 8 fight.

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  50. anjin-san says:

    and in this case it helped tear the right to marry away from gay Californians.

    I have a friend who’s partner died a few weeks ago. The fact that they were never able to marry added to his heartbreak. Romney does indeed have to own his bigotry.

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  51. J-Dub says:

    @Jenos Idanian: It was Newt that turned his back on his sister, not even attending her wedding. Talk about chickens*&t

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  52. Jenos Idanian says:

    @J-Dub: You ought to be correcting Norm… but that’s pretty much a full-time job.

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  53. Jeremy R says:

    @Jeremy R:

    BTW, this was the advertising Romney’s $10,000 was paying for. It’s all essential variations on, “they’re coming for your children!” Really, he should have to answer for the Prop 8 ads during media interviews sometime, forced to watch some of the slimier ones being played as he sits there and squirms, but knowing our feckless media that’s unlikely to ever happen.

    NOM Prop 8 Ads:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JV8-F4jfD1c
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuRAaDuP6xQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTOIt9MG4U0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp76ly2_NoI

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  54. jukeboxgrad says:

    Anyone curious about how Romney is going to deal with gay issues need only ask Richard Grenell.

    Another good person to ask: the gay soldier who was booed by a Republican debate audience while Romney stood by silently.

    Mitt never misses a chance to demonstrate his spinelessness, on this issue and every other issue.

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  55. RalfW says:

    Not just “both sides do it” John Cole, but both candidates are exactly the same on same sex marriage.

    Which is objectively bullcrap, as has been pointed out numerous times on this thread.

    What about $10K to NOM makes Romney and Obama the same? What about repealing DADT would Romney have done, seeing as how he so courageously defended his erstwhile foreign policy dude. I could go on, but pointing out the utterly false equivalency seems not to help.

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  56. Tillman says:

    Homosexuals are at the very top of the PC pecking order.

    Nah, still think that belongs to black Jews whose grandparent(s) survived the Holocaust.

    Yes, they exist, and it is impossible to win an argument against one in polite society. Believe me I tried, and I’m still considered a jerk to this day.

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  57. Hey Norm says:

    @ jENOS…
    I never said that Gingrich had NOT turned his back on his sister…that he HAD attended her wedding…or that he ISN’T a chicken-s&*t So I’m not sure what you think the correction, in relation to J-Dubs statement, would be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  58. RalfW says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Far as I can tell, any seeing of Mitt as rather “gay-friendly” in his personal life evaporated in his cowardly back-down on Grenell.

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  59. Moderate Mom says:

    Never one to particularly want to emulate the French (just got back from Paris and yes, Parisians – not all French, just them – really are rude), they have the right idea on marriage. Have the government in the business of licensing what are essentially domestic partnerships, with all attendant benefits mandated for everyone, and leave “marriage” as a religious ceremony for those that want it.

    It will probably never happen, but a socially liberal gal can dream.

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  60. Hey Norm says:

    Is Moderate Mom really Jan? Anyone? Because she’s stealing Jan’s schtick…claiming to be a librul and all.

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  61. Hey Norm says:

    And is Jenos J-Tea or JWest?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  62. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    Have the government in the business of licensing what are essentially domestic partnerships, with all attendant benefits mandated for everyone, and leave “marriage” as a religious ceremony for those that want it.

    Like the civil unions framework that a few states have adopted? Seems like a reasonable idea. Alas, apparently there are those for whom that’s not sufficient. They’re not mollified. They want “marriage.” Nothing less.

    Speaking of which, I must confess I’m ignorant about French law. When you say the French mandate “all attendant benefits” with their domestic partnerships does that also mean they mandate all attendant burdens? Alimony and child support? Do they have that? Some equivalent? Community property? Or some equilvalent? Statutory forced shares of wills? Some sort of equivalent? Intestate succession mandates for surviving spouses? An equivalent? Property partitions?

    I’ll go ahead and assume for the sake of discussion that in the French system both the benefits and the burdens are identical between religious ceremonial marriages and civil partnerships. That said, from the standpoints of procedure and federalism, would a French system here be practicable and wise? Obviously not all 50 states would enact individually French-style domestic partnerships. Ergo this would have to be done at the federal level. Should the Feds be dictating to the individual states domestic relations law? Isn’t that the epitome of a state law issue?

    The devil’s always in the details.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  63. Nikki says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Like the civil unions framework that a few states have adopted? Seems like a reasonable idea. Alas, apparently there are those for whom that’s not sufficient. They’re not mollified. They want “marriage.” Nothing less.

    No, I believe she was speaking of civil unions for EVERYONE regardless of orientation instead of “marriage for me and none for thee.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  64. Console says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    That’s essentially what it is now, only in some states we forbid licensing certain domestic partnerships.

    If your implication is that we shouldn’t call them all marriages, then I’ll have to point out that the people against gay marriage aren’t most upset about grammar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  65. Hey Norm says:

    So in Moderate Mom’s proposal…every married couple will become un-married…and have to re-marry?
    Console is right…the Republican Party wishes to maintain for themselves something they would deny others. They are not in favor of leveling the playing field. They are in favor of denying rights to others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  66. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @Nikki: I think you’re correct. Again, I’m ignorant about French law, but given the context that’s the most likely interpretation of that comment. I see that now.

    Seems like a good idea. Nobody gets “married” from a legal perspective. Whether gay or straight you have civil unions. The same benefits. The same burdens. Witnessed religious ceremonial marriages have no legal effect. But obviously people who wish for them still can have them.

    I like it. Sign me up.

    Here’s the problem, though: How does that actually get enacted in the U.S.? Obviously not all 50 states would agree to that. Should this be done at the federal level? Should Washington, D.C. be dictating domestic relations law to Ohio and Florida and all places in between?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  67. Nikki says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Personally, I would say yes. Civil unions at the national level, religious ceremonies at the state. What could go wrong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  68. Console says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    It’s actually rather easy. You just force states to actually apply their marriage/domestic partnership laws equally, and see what they do. Laws that discriminate against gay couples pretty obviously violate the 14th amendment.

    Faced with the choice of having to accept all marriages or none, something tells me that no state will throw the baby out with the bathwater… all for the sake of some grammatical point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. Hey Norm says:

    This truly has turned to fantasy…at ludicrous speed.
    Does anyone seriously think the party that wants a Constitutional Amendment saying Marriage is between a man and a woman is ever going to stand for doing away with the Institution altogether? Why…you are actually talking about a seperation of church and state. Republicans would never consider such heresy. You are really talking about…and, wait for it…Same Sex Marriage literally destroying the Institution of Marriage. Holy self-fufilling prophecies Batman!!! Imagine the outrage.
    Not. Going. To. Happen. Ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @Nikki: That depends upon the meaning of the word “wrong.”

    That aside, practically speaking, your plan would have to be done via federal Constitutional amendment. Otherwise Paul Clement even would be busier. How do you get two-thirds of the Congress to sign onto that plan? Could you even get one quarter of states to ratify, much less three quarters?

    Let’s say you’re able to overcome those obstacles. Is federalism dead? If we’re having the Feds adopt national domestic relations laws should the Feds also preempt and replace, well, every other state law? Testate and intestate succession? There are lots of inequities there. Business contracts? The same. Torts? A minefield for the unwary. Real estate law? Legalized piracy. Hell, I’ve made a living using real estate law to crush people’s spirits.

    Should the Feds “fix” those laws too? Or does this all stop at the altar, so to speak?

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  71. mattb says:

    @Moderate Mom: I’ve long been onboard with this sort of approach.

    The issue is still the question of how to enforce the concept of equal access to civil unions, and ensure that “marriages” can take place everywhere, provided someone can find a church willing to do it (and I think Religious organizations do have the right to choose not to marry any couple).

    The issue is that there are states where no only are Same Sex Civil Unions illegal, but they are banned by the state constitution. That’s setting up one hell of a fight and, contra Jenos, ultimately will have to play out on the Federal Level — much like Civil Rights started local, but eventually required Federal action.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  72. mattb says:

    On a related note, am I the only one who finds it scary that some states can modify their constitutions by simple mass majority? Granted, I’m thinking about this in terms of the current NC vote, but it just seems to me that is deeply problematic — especially on rights based issues, where public opinion can shift a few points in the space of a few years.

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  73. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @Console: “Force.” You mean by judicial decision? Hmm. Not very democratic. Then again, if there’s an equal protection violation democracy shouldn’t matter in the literal sense.

    So let’s say the SCOTUS rules that all state marriage laws and attendant laws must be applied equally regardless of sexual orientation. Then the very next day the State of Mississippi announces they won’t comply with that decision, come hell or high water.

    You’re the president. Do you dispatch the 101st Airborne Division to bring Mississippi to heel?

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  74. mattb says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You’re the president. Do you dispatch the 101st Airborne Division to bring Mississippi to heel?

    Wouldn’t it be the national guard?

    But this raises a huge and fair issue — and most likely one that also is effecting the “evolution” of Obama’s position. With Brown v. Board, the forced integration of Schools created a simple focal point for this sort of thing. Get the guard out to get those kids safely into school.

    I suspect that should “force” — or rather violence — be used here, it will largely be of the economic type: namely that the Feds will shut down some or all funding to a state until they bring themselves into compliance. Of course that will probably trigger a second Supreme Court battle (unless that’s already settled law).

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  75. mattb says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Let’s say you’re able to overcome those obstacles. Is federalism dead? If we’re having the Feds adopt national domestic relations laws should the Feds also preempt and replace, well, every other state law?

    Again a good question. That said, I think that domestic relationship law is a bit different than Real Estate Law.

    Out of curiosity, are you one of the folks who feel that it would have been better for every state to have been allowed to enact it’s own civil rights protections? Surely that would have been more in keeping with the modern notion of Federalism, but would have been an absolute nightmare for people on the ground.

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  76. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @mattb: In Little Rock, Arkansas, it was the 101st Airborne Division. Followed by special, federalized national guardsmen.

    Regarding the funding “weapon” to which you made reference, would you want the Feds in that respect to shut off money for such items as Medicaid, food stamps, transportation infrastructure and unemployment insurance benefits?

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  77. Hey Norm says:

    @ TNick..
    No…you simply stop payment on the $9B a year in Federal Aid Mississippi recieves…and keep in mind that Federal funding is nearly 46% of Mississippi’s total revenue.

    http://www.thepelicanpost.org/percentage-of-state-revenues-from-federal-aid/

    Small government indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  78. Console says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    I’d just cut off federal funding for any marital benefits and see how people like getting social security benefits cut off because Mississippi has such a high and mighty opinion of it’s marriage system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  79. James says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You mean by judicial decision? Hmm. Not very democratic.

    I believe that would be the point. Popular sentiments on fundamental civil rights has little bearing on their justice.

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  80. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @mattb: If by “civil rights protections” you mean Title VII, ADA and Federal Housing Act-style laws, then, yes, I’m one of those people. The Feds there need not be involved. If you mean generally speaking laws that affect civil rights, then, no, I’m not one of those people. State X shouldn’t be allowed to draw distinctions in societal privileges of government based upon religion, race, age, gender, etc.

    Now that I’ve said that, getting back on topic, I think gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry each other.

    The problem is that there are so many facts on the ground, so to speak, which make that a very difficult proposition from a pure legal standpoint. I think a lot of people out there in the chattering classes haven’t thought through all of these ramifications, or even most of them.

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  81. An Interested Party says:

    It will probably never happen, but a socially liberal gal can dream.

    SSM will eventually be the law of the land…dream bigger…

    You mean by judicial decision? Hmm. Not very democratic.

    How dare those despots force Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia on all of us…

    So let’s say the SCOTUS rules that all state marriage laws and attendant laws must be applied equally regardless of sexual orientation. Then the very next day the State of Mississippi announces they won’t comply with that decision, come hell or high water.

    Oh, sorta like how the public schools in the state of Virginia were closed to avoid integrating them? Now there’s a noble precedent to emulate…

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  82. anjin-san says:

    The problem is that there are so many facts bigots on the ground, so to speak, which make that a very difficult proposition

    FTFY

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  83. anjin-san says:

    The fact that Romney and Obama have exactly the same position on same-sex marriage

    So, both side do it?

    That’s some profound shit man. You must have really dug deep for this level of insight. We have never heard anything quite like it.

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