Gay marriage advocates are becoming
increasingly frustrated with President Barack Obama.
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
But an unnamed White House aide told
POLITICO.com that the president does not support gay marriage, only
civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.
“He supports repealing the Defense of
Marriage Act [DOMA],” the aide added, referring to the law that
defines marriage as a heterosexual union for federal agencies.
The next day, White House adviser David
Axelrod appeared on MSNBC to reiterate the president's confusing
position on gay unions.
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.
Venting on the Internet began soon
after Axelrod's appearance.
“Oh yes, I've seen you and your team
dancing on that [gay marriage] hotplate lately!” Tom
Foreman wrote from New Orleans in an open letter to the president
published Saturday on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 blog.
“David Axelrod was sweating and stammering like one of those guys
who has been picked up on COPS when he was questioned about your
stance. I can't blame him because it looks like you either haven't
decided what you think, or are desperately trying to hide your
opinion on this one.”
“Sure there is a lot of political
risk in taking either stance. Everyone knows that. But what you are
doing just looks spineless, wishy-washy, and like any old
politician,” he added.
Writing at the Huffington Post,
Baram suggested Obama's stance mirrors those of prominent Democrats
that came before him, chiefly former president Bill Clinton.
Clinton, of course, signed DOMA into
law, but said in 2009 that he regretted it and gave his support for
On Thursday, gay
blogger John Aravosis began an online petition asking 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.
Whether genuine or political
calculation, Obama will be forced to explain himself in greater
detail as the case wends its way to the Supreme Court, landing
squarely in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign.