President Barack Obama continues to
send a mixed message on gay rights.
Immediately following Wednesday's
ruling that struck down California's gay marriage ban, known as
Proposition 8, the White House issued a statement in support of the
“The president has spoken out in
opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and
discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT
glossy The Advocate reported.
A White House aide, however, clarified
that the president does not support marriage equality.
“He supports civil unions, doesn't
personally support gay marriage though he supports repealing the
Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA], and has opposed divisive and
discriminatory initiatives like Prop. 8 in other states,” the
unnamed aide told POLITICO.com.
Further clarification came from White
House adviser David Axelrod, who appeared on MSNBC Thursday morning.
Axelrod said the president opposed
Proposition 8 because he felt it was “mean-spirited,” but
emphasized that he supports recognizing gay and lesbian couples with
civil unions, not marriage.
The president has also repeatedly said
he opposes DOMA, which defines marriage as a heterosexual union for
federal agencies. But New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler's bill
that would repeal the 1996 law has not won the support of the
And while Axelrod asserted that
“nothing has changed” in the president's position, the world did
on Wednesday. The ruling handed down by a federal judge is likely
headed to the Supreme Court in the next year or so, just in time to
become a thorn in the side of Obama's 2012 re-election hopes.
The issue is also being pressed by gay
online petition at the blog Americablog, run by prominent gay blogger
John Aravosis, asks the president to embrace full equality.
“You simply do not support equality
for gay and lesbian couples if you don't support letting them marry,”
the petition reads.