Views & Voices

White House aide: Obama’s 1996 pledge in support of marriage equality is fake


It would seem that President Obama has flip-flopped back and forth on marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

His signature appears on a 1996 pledge promising that he would “favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

Just in the time for the 2008 election, however, he said that he did not support marriage equality for gay couples because “God’s in the mix.” Then, earlier this year, Obama said that while he was not in favor of marriage equality just yet, he was “evolving” on the issue.

The media has yet to really call him out on that inconsistent viewpoint, but at the Netroots Nation blog conference on Friday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said that the 1996 pledge was “filled out by someone else” other than Barack Obama:

However, an image of the pledge clearly shows that the signature is indeed that of Barack Obama.

The White House responded by saying that its own Communications Director just didn’t know what he was talking about:

“Dan was not familiar with the history of the questionnaire that was brought up today, but the president’s views are clear,” Inouye said. “He has long supported equal rights and benefits for gay and lesbian couples and since taking office he has signed into law the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ signed into law the hate crimes bill, made the decision not to defend Section 3 of DOMA and expanded federal benefits for same sex partners of federal employees.”

Inouye didn’t respond to a further question from the Washington Blade to verify whether the White House believes the president in fact filled out the questionnaire in 1996.

Bizarre. It would be nice if the White House could be honest for once.

Yes, President Obama has done some great things for the LGBT community. Yes, Obama has done far more than any other President.

But that’s a pretty low bar. It’s great that he’s managed to get rid of DADT and has (finally) stopped defending DOMA in court, but Obama needs to become the “fierce advocate” he once said he would be. It’s time that the President learn that anything less than full equality and recognition as equal citizens will not be good enough.

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