Gay marriage pressure back on Obama

The Supreme Court will ultimately decide on two same-sex marriage cases, but the court’s attention-grabbing move has put the pressure on President Barack Obama to clarify his stance on the issue.

When Obama announced in May that he favored same-sex marriage — after previously supporting just civil unions — many took it as a full embrace of same-sex marriage rights. It wasn’t: his nuanced language stopped well short of endorsing the idea that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to marry for same-sex couples. He said the issue was best left to the states to decide in the near term.

But the Supreme Court’s decision Friday may have sped up Obama’s timeline.

The Obama administration made clear last year that it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that denies federal benefits to same-sex married couples. Obama said he’d concluded that law was unconstitutional. It was the Justice Department that asked the Supreme Court to take a challenge to DOMA, hoping justices would agree to strike it down.

However, the federal government has never taken a stand on the other, potentially more significant case that the justices added to their calendar on Friday: the legal challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage, approved in 2008. In 2010, a district court judge struck down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional and found a broad federal right to same-sex marriage. In February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit also found the measure unconstitutional, but on narrower grounds.

Though the case transfixed gay rights activists, the Obama administration never weighed in. And when Prop. 8 backers asked the Supreme Court to take the case, the Justice Department was again silent. The department had no duty to file anything since the suit was against the State of California, not the federal government.

The Justice Department could have taken a stand at any point, and could still stay out of it — but now, dodging that question has gotten harder.

“There will be pressure for the Justice Department to weigh in on the Prop. 8 case,” said Richard Socarides, a longtime gay rights activist and White House adviser to President Bill Clinton.

Socarides said that when Obama “evolved” in the direction of support for gay marriage earlier this year, he and his aides seemed eager to let some time pass before confronting the question of whether it was a right every American should be guaranteed.

“I think this federalizes the issue much more quickly than the White House would have liked and may force them to take a position earlier than they would have liked,” Socarides said.

“It’s a fascinating question,” said another prominent gay rights activist, who asked not to be named. “Will they be at the table and which side of the table will they be at?”

In the justices’ order Friday, they did not ask the administration to offer views on the Prop. 8 case. However, court watchers believe several of the justices could put the question of whether there is a federal right to gay-marriage directly to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

That’s even more likely if the DOMA case, in which the administration will be arguing, is heard by the court at about the same time as the California gay-marriage ban. The cases are expected to be scheduled for late March, though no dates have been announced.

The campaign to get Obama, the White House and the Justice Department behind a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage seemed to kick off in earnest on Friday when a prominent lawyer in the fight against Prop. 8 said he’d like to see Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder get off the sidelines in that case.

“Given the stand that the president of the United States and the attorney general of the United States have made with respect to marriage equality, we would certainly hope that they would participate,” Ted Olson said during a conference call with reporters.

“I’m quite confident that if they did participate they would support our position in this case, that the denial of equal rights is subject to close scrutiny by the courts and cannot withstand that scrutiny,” said Olson, solicitor general under President George W. Bush and the lawyer most likely to argue the pro-gay-marriage side when the justices hear the Prop. 8 case. While Olson and his team urged the high court not to take the case, he’s made clear that now that it has, his team will make a full-court press for the justices to affirm a federal right to gay marriage.

Prop. 8 proponents didn’t echo the call for the Obama administration to weigh in, but did say that the only position it could take consistent with the president’s public statements would be to affirm the state of California’s right to ban gay marriage.

“President Obama has been clear that the states have the right to retain the traditional definition of marriage. The Department of Justice should adhere to the president’s views,” attorney Andrew Pugno told POLITICO via e-mail. Pugno is one of the lawyers for the Prop. 8 defenders who asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Obama has never explicitly rejected the notion that the U.S. Constitution could protect the right of gays and lesbians to marry, but his repeated description of the issue as one traditionally and best handled by states seems to undercut the idea that the Supreme Court should declare a federal right to same-sex marriage.

“I’ve just concluded that — for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married. Now, I have to tell you that part of my hesitation on this has also been I didn’t want to nationalize the issue,” Obama said in his May interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts.

Indeed, the president seemed to suggest that it would be a mistake — at least in the short term — to seek or impose a rule that would require all states to recognize gay marriages.

“What you’re seeing is, I think, states working through this issue — in fits and starts, all across the country. Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that’s a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is going to be worked out at the local level,” Obama said.

Days before the election, Obama reaffirmed that stance.

“Historically, marriages have been defined at the state level,” Obama told MTV on Oct. 26 in response to an edgy question that asserted he’d staked out a “states’ rights” position on the issue. “Ultimately, you know, I believe that if we have that conversation at the state level, the evolution that’s taking place in this country will get us to a place where we are going to be recognizing everybody fairly.”

After the Supreme Court’s announcement on Friday, the White House referred questions about the president’s position to the Justice Department. A spokeswoman there declined to comment on that question or on whether the department plans to weigh in on the Prop. 8 case.

To be sure, the justices could resolve both the DOMA and same-sex marriage cases without squarely deciding whether there’s a federal constitutional right to such unions. In both cases, the justices signaled that they might reject the cases on technical grounds.

The DOMA case could also be resolved simply by addressing how much scrutiny courts should give to laws that discrimination against gays and lesbians.

And the 9th Circuit ruling in the Prop. 8 case — a decision which said California couldn’t take away gay marriage rights after it permitted the practice — seemed designed to allow the justices to restore same-sex marriage in the Golden State without making a sweeping ruling that forced the same result in all 50 states.

The Justice Department could back the 9th Circuit ruling or basically remain silent and say it has no position on the question if a Supreme Court justice presses the issue.

“In the California case, I think it would be very easy for the attorney general to stay out of it,” said George Dent Jr., a law professor at Case Western University who believes Prop. 8 is constitutional. “The case is being well-argued on both sides and does not present an issue of interest to the federal government as such.”

But standing mute is likely to anger some in the gay community and leave Obama, who views himself as a champion of gay rights, seeming to sit on his hands as the court confronts what Olson’s co-counsel David Boies has called “the defining civil rights issue of our time.”

Gay rights advocates are hoping that the idea of being on the right side of history will prompt Obama to take a firm public stand in favor of same-sex marriage rights.

”This president has done more for LGBT people than any other president in history,” said Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign. “The Justice Department becoming involved this issue is a natural extension his advocacy of equality on behalf all Americans. On top of that, it’s not a heavy lift….Come on in, the water’s warm.”

Posted to: Federal Government Politico Politics

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No pressure at all

President Obama came out in support of gay marriage back in May. He was handidly reelected last Month. No pressure.

Can you confirm this

I read a head line the other day that there was only a 400,000 vote difference in the four major swing states. A lot closer than reported by the media. I think the marriage issue should be left up to each state.

dont think, know it is up to each state and use the 9th and 10

ammendment along with understanding the enumerated powers found in the various articles of the constitution.

No one has to think on this, we should all know its for each state to decide. Further, we should all know that the SC has no jurisdiction on this decision regardless of what each state decides. On this subject, we can have Cal and NY saying sure, we recognize a gay marriage and NC saying we only recognize a union between one man and one union as a marriage.

That is the beauty of our country. STATES have this right to be different on these kinds of issues. The concept was clearly demonstrated with slavery and some of the other issues (dred scott) argued on the concept of states rights. Voting laws show this concept as well.

it really doesn't matter about the popular vote as an

aggregate score. It only matters about each state individually as only that state's popular vote will be used to assign the electoral college votes.

As of today, we use the electoral college to determine the president. If the progressives get their way, this will no longer be the case.

The progressives got the Senate to be elected by the populace instead of the State and look what we have. Senators vying for the popular vote instead of vying for their respective states right in the Senate.

Obama care would have been laughed off the floor by an either party controlled Senate pre 17th amendment because the burden upon the states for ACA is simply too intrusive. Yet we voted for the popular guys and we now have ACA as the law of the land.

Do you mean 400,000 in EACH of the swing states?

That's a lot of votes!

Champion of gay rights?

Anyone thinking Obama supports gays should look up his former music minister's name, Donald Young, along with Larry Bland and Nate Spencer. Maybe it's smoke, but the MSM touched on it once and then ran like crazy.

Wiki used to have an extensive write up on Larry Sinclair as well but that got pulled when Obama was nominated for president.

Smoke? Yuppers!

Not only that, it's the type of smoke now emanating from Washington State and Colorado!

Position Will Evolve

No matter what his position is today it might evolve into something else tomorrow. Just like he said one thing as a Senator, another as a campaigner and something else as President. All of it is to mask who he really is, but that will be revealed more and more as time goes on. As it was said of Lyndon Johnson, Obama is a man of his most recent word.


"Mask who he really is." As if anyone vetted for the Presidency could have a secret. . .

President's statement

earlier this year was for political expediency.

If however you really believe in freedom you have to realize that means freedom for everyone, even those you disagree with. Think how silly people are going to look 50 years from now when this is the law of the land, kind of like segregationists of yesteryear do now.

50 years from now the united states of america will not exist

and it will be in large part to progressives, greed, and apathy.

To keep a country as powerful as our while still acknowledging that the power of this government is in the hands of the people is tough to maintain. We have been doing it for a while now but the power greedy (both sides) have been eroding away at this concept. WE are at the end of this great nation as a Republic of the people.

Shortly, ideas of the person and a society working toward a common goal are going to be replaced by a constitutional interpretation that the MOB is always right. We are moving toward a full blown democracy. The problem is it will only be a shell and the true power holders will make decisions regardless of what the people wish. Few see it.

Your vision requires delusions.

People have been predicting that kind of apocalyptic scenario for centuries. A disaster of unprecedented magnitude is always just around the corner. Then the next one. Oh wait. Maybe it's the one after that.

The greatest threat to U. S. supremacy is globalization. There are 4 times as many Chinese as Americans. There are four times as many Indians as Americans. They have populations of 1.2 billion while we have only about 320 million people living in this country. When those economies are fully developed, they will dwarf ours. It's a matter of numbers, not of liberal values that dilute the power of knee-jerk conservatism.

a thought

--everyone knows that a snake oil salesmen sell you a story to get you to do things for them.--PT BARMUM used to call them suckers!--Obama calls them fans for believing in him!--wait and see which Obama comes out to speak on the matter!-I'm sure it will be entertaining to some of you,-to say the least---frank in va.bch.

Anyone else notice every

Anyone else notice every time Obama is looking bad in a situation, another one pops up to distract everyone? The Reps. say Obama won't negotiate, just laid out a deal and said take it or leave it, pressure is on the Reps. to negotiate but as soon as they turn it around now this comes up. Obama's deal wants the President to be able to raise the debt ceiling without Congress, but this gets little attention because everyone is focused on socking it to 2% of the population. If he gets this, we are done, the ability for just one person to run up as much debt for the country as they want will be total devastation. Look how bad Congress has done with all of their input. What is wrong with people? No one seems to want to dig for the truth anymore.

The only country in the world

We are the only country in the world that has a debt ceiling. It's stupid. If Congress votes to spend the money, we should pay the bill.


That sounds like a conservative statement. I am willing to bet that you think like a fiscal conservative when it comes to money and live like a social liberal. There is nothing wrong with that.

anyone really read the history of the fall of the roman

Republic? Effectively folks like Ceaser coveted power so much (similar to todays politicians) that he had a desire to fundamentally change the way Roman did business. Sound familiar? He got the Senate and people to call him the first citizen for life. They didn't want to deal with finding a new consuls every year. He "begged" for the good of the whole to be left in office (Gov Perdue earlier this year). He got what he wanted. Control of the country. What is scary is the people and senate GAVE him that power. He didn't have to take it with a coupe.

The senate is wanting to give him unfettered powers to borrow as well as the budget. Both of those belong in the legislative branch. We are acting like Rome. Beware, please read history.

Why do people refuse to educate themselves?

Your comment and the one that followed it (which now appears below mine) reflect a total misunderstanding of what the debt ceiling is. All it does is allow the government to pay off debts that have ALREADY been incurred. The money has already been spent, and if they government doesn't pay it back then suddenly the US credit worthiness goes down the drain. Guess what happens next. When America's credit worthiness tanks, interest rates for money (which we borrow for next to nothing and sometimes for less than that) will skyrocket, and as they spiral up the economy will spiral down.

America has to pay its debts for money already spent, just as you have to pay your credit card debts. Increasing the debt ceiling is how we do it right now.

There is one thing for sure,

There is one thing for sure, the only thing that will hold Obama back now is his desired legacy and he likes to be popular. What he says from here on out will be pure Obama beliefs and I think most people will be able to guess at what his positions will be. He doesn't care about the Democratic party, they were a vessel to get where he wanted to be if he hurts them he could care less. A few predictions:
Taxes on everyone will be good if gov't can look after you better.
Guns are a healthcare finacial drain and need to be regulated or destroyed.
We need to expand social programs to help those hurting, especially if jobs and the economy gets worst.
Its ok to have run away debt now, things will improve and then we will pay it back.(Good luck)

Keep your guns. Please.

There are loons out there who are waging a campaign about gun rights as if they are somehow at risk. Can you give me even one quote that suggests that Obama opposes gun rights as granted by the 2nd Amendment? Even one? Half of one? Just a tiny fraction of one? Go for it. Find it. Please find it and report back to us on what it is.

Why can't we agree on this,

Why can't we agree on this, everyone is entitled to their opinion on gay marriage, but no government should have any role in deciding for any human being who they can or cannot have a voluntary association. Don't tell us who we can marry or how to raise our children.

Makes sense

MYOB should be the basis here. Prejudice should not dictate law and government should stay out of such matters by recognizing all such contracts between consenting adults.


No problem, as long as those twisted homosexuals don't live beside me!

you wish to live with another guy or gal, go for it. buy a house

rent an apartment and enjoy life to its fullest. No one is stopping you.

Where the govt, as the voice of the people within that community or state, has a voice is when you wish to have that life style imposed upon others and make that life style hold equal to what the society has said we do not desire.

You see, the MOB, in this case, is against the ideas of a gay lifestyle at least in NC. Since its OK under the progressives to use MOB mentality for your agenda, when the MOB is used against you, tough do do.

The good of the whole is no longer an argument. Its all about the MOB. We really no longer are a country of law, but of the MOB. Obama and the progressives/libs have moved us away from law and into a might makes right mentality.

My goodness, I had no idea

"…wish to have that life style imposed upon others…".

I am sorry to hear that you are forced to sleep with men. I know I would be outraged.

I am from Virginia, happily married to a woman.

I will lay low so maybe those who would force their lifestyle on me might not notice.

Perhaps a wig and a stuffed brassiere would make you look less appealing to the gay men.

If I can help, let me know.

Are you saying you agree

Are you saying you agree with me?

$ 4 million dolars of tax payers money for a vacation = a 1%'er

Obama is too busy planning his $4 million dollar family Christmas vacation in Hawaii,to worry about gays wanting to get married. Besides,Obama just had to say he was in support of gays getting married for re-election purposes,gays don't care as long as Obama can see the rainbow.


Would appreciate a citation, unless this is only your unfounded opinion.


You need to understand the meaning of the words you choose, "citation" doesn't come close. I'm sure you thought it made you sound smart.

On a steady diet of Fox News?

You really should look for a more reliable source of information.

Religious regulation

Government has about as much business regulating marriage, which is basically a religious ceremony, as they would regulating other religious rites, such as baptismal, confirmation, or Bris rites. Those who wish to deny a same-sex union the status of marriage, should also consider denying that status to ANY civil wedding ceremony, such as that performed by a JP or other civil authority.
Too many people want their religion to control the government, but do not want the government to control their religion. This is the basis for Sharia law!

How DARE you bring logic

How DARE you bring logic into this discussion

actually, marriage is more about the civil side of it

and how each state recognizes how to deal with a married couple. It falls squarely under the 9th and 10th amendments regardless of what the law professor King Obama may wish to decide.

His opinion on this matter holds no more weight than yours our mine. Its just an opinion. Its up to the several states to look at the constitution and determine how they wish to interpret the 9th and 10th. Because gay marriage is NOT mentioned in any fashion in the constitution, it cannot be addressed by the feds as an all encompassing anything upon a state. It simply belongs to the states to decide.

For NC, our constitution will shortly say we recognize that a marriage is between one man and one woman. Sweet. Makes it extremely simple.

Get over it

Fundamental rights are NOT the prerogative of states to determine on a popular-vote basis, and the Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that marriage is a fundamental right. A primary function of the Constitution is to protect the rights of minority groups from being trampled by the majority. (Not that this particular Supreme Court won't find a way around it; Scalia has already publicly stated his position on the issue.)

But if law professor NCGuy want to test his theory that marriage is all about a state's rights, look into Loving vs. Virginia, which found VA's miscegenation law "subversive of the principle of equality." States cannot deny citizens equal treatment under the law.

Go ahead. Give us another lecture on the Constitution.


Your assuming that sexual orientation receives the same status as race, color, creed. It doesn't, plain and simple! Your comment, "A primary function of the Constitution is to protect the rights of minority groups from being trampled by the majority" applies to Minority groups under the Constitution. Homosexuality is not a Minority group; it's a behavior of an individual. The individual is afforded rights under the constitution, not the behavior of an individual.

It's good to see the President take yet another stand.

A stand against the Muslim world that is.
First he killed OBL. He can kill any Muslim he chooses. (Hit Lit Tuesday)
He can fly his drones across any nations borders to spy on and kill Muslims.
He shows complete disregard for the Muslim Quran, which they consider the "verbatim" Word of God. The Quran says NO to same sex marriage. (Man Love Thursday is OK)
In “Audacity of Hope” he writes: “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”
It's good to see him evolving from his support of Muslims.
Maybe they won't notice.
They will realize that what he says is for Political expediency of the moment.
It is curious to see Ralph Nader calling the President a "War Criminal" in agreement with the Muslim

gay men marrying gay men gay

gay men marrying gay men
gay women marrying gay women
man marrying woman
straight men marrying straight men
straight women marrying straight women
transgender marrying transgender
pansexuals, asexuals, semisexual, etc.
opening up Pandora's box
when will this craziness end?
just stay unmarried and single

Same sex marriage

Our country is starting to recognize that individuals have the right to marry someone of their own gender should they wish to do so. Let's make the right nationwide, available in all states and available now. One day we will look back in amazement at our prejudice as we do with racism and other biases. Let's make that period of shame as short of a period as possible.

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