Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Help Me Jesus

At this point I can honestly say I'm totally confused about Obama and his stance on gay marriage. Can someone explain this to me? Jay Carney was asked on Monday about the President's stance on gay marriage:

Q On another topic, last week the President spoke about gay marriage when he was in New York and he said that -- talked about how this has been the province of the state and that’s the -- referring to what was happening in the debate in New York, he said that’s the power of democracy at work. Does that mean that he also respects the outcome of democracy at work in California where voters rejected the idea of gay marriage?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think as you saw in the decision we announced that we would no longer -- this administration would no longer be participants defending the Defense of Marriage Act because we do not believe it’s constitutional, that it’s precisely because of his belief that this was a matter that needs to be decided by the states. So without commenting on a particular other state, I think he was making that clear with regard to the action in New York.

Q Okay, but --

MR. CARNEY: But I’m not going to put words in his mouth applying to another state. I mean, you can analyze that, but -- because I haven’t heard him say that. But obviously the DOMA decision -- what he said in New York was about his belief, our belief, that this is a matter that states should decide.

Q And the central argument in the challenge to Proposition 8 by supporters of same-sex marriage rights is that this isn’t something that should be decided state by states, in fact, that there are federal rights involved. So would he reject --

MR. CARNEY: Well, the President very strongly supports equal rights and he’s -- we’ve been -- he’s made that clear as well, and he said it again in New York at the event that you’re discussing. So I’m not going to --

Q But I’m referring to the --

MR. CARNEY: I don’t really have a lot I can say about Proposition 8 with regards to what the President said last week. You know, I don’t -- I’m not willing to go to what the President didn’t discuss. I can talk about what he did discuss.

Q So, but the proper reading of what he said -- it sounds like what you’re saying but I want to be clear -- is that, yes, this is up for the states and if New York decides that they want to allow same-sex marriage, great; if California decides that they don’t want to, then that’s their decision as well. (emphasis mine)

MR. CARNEY: Well, again, I can’t improve upon the words that the President delivered publicly whatever night it was -- Thursday night. So I’m not disagreeing with that interpretation, but he has said quite clearly, as he did in the DOMA decision and as he did on Thursday night, that he believes that it’s for the states to decide.

Then later he was asked a follow up. Not sure if it was from the same reporter who asked the original question.

Q My name is Bill. (Laughter.) Jay, I want to come back to the same-sex marriage issue, if I can. If the right to -- if the opportunity to enjoy the same rights, same-sex couples or straight couples or whatever, is a basic civil right, how can you square that with saying we leave it up to the states?

MR. CARNEY: Well, look, I’m not going to -- the President has made his position clear. It’s not very useful for us to have this debate. I think the President spoke about this on Thursday. He spoke about it -- sorry, he’s spoken about this a number of times in the past. So you could take it to other places but I think I’ll leave it to what he said.

Q Let me ask this, then. But with New York being the largest state so far to recognize same-sex marriage, are you concerned that the President may have missed his opportunity to lead on this issue?

MR. CARNEY: Again, the President’s record on issues involving and of concern to the LGBT community is exemplary and we are very proud of it. He continues to fight on behalf of that community for the rights -- for equal rights. And his position on New York, he himself, rather than his press secretary, spoke at length about just a few nights ago. So I’ll leave it at that.

So let me just try to clear this up. Obama believes that civil rights (including the over a thousand (state and federal) rights that come with marriage should be decided in the states?

Dustin Lance Black asks the same question in his article Obama: It's Time To Step Up:" If the civil rights of this country’s minorities are left to the states, then this will become a checkerboard nation where some areas are free and some areas are not free. Children in some states will be told to lift their heads high and others will be told they are second-class citizens, less than, and that their love and their future families are not worthy of this nation’s protection and admiration.

So fast forward to today 06/29 Obama holds a press conference and the headline is: Obama stops short of endorsing gay marriage. He said that the decision in New York was "a good thing" because people debated their views and came to a decision. The president said other states and communities will come to their own conclusions.

So again, I'm confused. Can someone please explain this to me?

On a completely un-related point..but actually could be related check out this video by Byron Katie about self-homophobia.