President Barack Obama’s official stance that he is still ‘evolving’ on the issue of gay marriage continued to be scrutinized on Tuesday (8 May).
For the second day in a row, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney faced questions about the president’s position which is being increasingly focused on following Vice President Joe Biden’s public support of marriage equality this week.
‘I think it’s important to note, as I attempted to do yesterday, that what is abundantly clear is this President’s firm commitment to the protection of and securing of the same rights and obligations for LGBT citizens as other Americans enjoy,’ Carney told reporters. ‘He has been a strong proponent of LGBT rights, and I think that’s demonstrated by his record, which is unparalleled, as President in support of those rights.’
Obama supports civil unions for same-sex couples but has yet to publicly support gay marriage. The pro-LGBT record Carney speaks of includes the dismantling of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, ensuring hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples, and signing hate crimes legislation.
Anderson Cooper had taken Obama’s position to task on his CNN show Monday evening saying ‘the president’s position on gay marriage is anything but precise.’
During the same segment, CNN’s White House correspondent Jessica Yellin called the situation ‘a mess of the White House’s own making.’
‘The bottom line is the president has this convoluted position on gay marriage,’ Yellin said. ‘In a sense he is trying to have it both ways.’
Yellin has spoken with several gay people who have donated millions to Obama’s campaign and says they are under the distinct impression that the president will publicly support gay marriage after the November election against Mitt Romney.
‘There is a cold hard political reality,’ Yellin said. ‘There are certain key groups that don’t support gay marriage. …. In a razor-thin election where every single vote counts, those are groups the campaign might be loathe to alienate.’