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Prop. 8: You're not helping, Mr. President

Obama-fail Perhaps even more grating than the ad hominem attacks on U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker (read Patt Morrison's excellent post earlier Thursday dismissing the conflict-of-interest claims against His Gayness) was the White House's reiteration of President Obama's hairsplitting position on legalizing same-sex marriage. In short, nothing's changed: The president is opposed to Proposition 8 on the grounds that it's divisive and mean-spirited, but he's still not in favor of gay marriage.

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod explained Obama's position thusly:

"The president does oppose same-sex marriage, but he supports equality for gay and lesbian couples, and benefits and other issues, and that has been effectuated in federal agencies under his control," Axelrod said on MSNBC.

Axelrod noted that Obama had opposed Proposition 8 all along.

"The president opposed Proposition 8 at the time — he felt it was divisive and mean-spirited," he said, adding that Obama believes that governing marriage is "an issue for the states."

Gotcha. That was no migraine headache, just a desperate attempt by the neurons in your brain to logically reconcile Obama's conflicting views on Proposition 8 and same-sex marriage.

Look, even the most uncompromising supporters of marriage equality can appreciate the political implications for Obama and the worried congressional Democrats in November. But there's something especially insincere about the president's awkward attempt to endear himself -- or at least try to save face with -- the two sides in this debate, whose positions have practically no overlap. 

Even if the pro-Proposition 8 side's arguments against gay marriage are dishonest (Walker devotes much of his decision to explaining why), at least they're speaking truthfully about their moral views on same-sex nuptials. I can't confidently say the same for Obama.

-- Paul Thornton

Photo: Gay rights activists protest outside a fund-raiser in Beverly Hills attended by President Obama in 2009. Credit: AP photo / Damian Dovarganes


Comments () | Archives (69)

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Someone might remind Obama of his parent's own struggle.

One simply can not support 'equality' while supporting seperate institutions for 'certain' citizens.

Obama has some serious soul-searching to do.


Yeah, this won't help you Mr. President. You lose the gay community and you're a one term loser.

Chris Silva

Obama is black how he guna be discriminatory


I agree with the President I too oppose same sex marriage, but firmly believe and support equal rights for gay and lesbian couples. The domestic partnership act was put in place to ensure that they too received benefits and similar issues that married couples receive.

I am wondering when and why this became an issue of sexual preference and why the Judge sought to say that hetero sexual couples were superior to that of a gay couple. This was never an issue, I believe there are several people who question the decision made yesterday as it appears very one-sided. Just because you oppose gay marriage doesn't mean you believe they shouldn't be treated equally. They are two entirely different issues.

Paul Thornton


"Just because you oppose gay marriage doesn't mean you believe they shouldn't be treated equally."

Yes, it does.

You won already

Give it up. This is why in th elong run you always LOSE.


Obama's position(s) call(s) for a Venn Diagram reference in which the circles do not meet. Venn would blow his stack if he heard the president's stances on the issue. And Obama, who assumedly did well on the LSAT to gain entree to Harvard, should recognize that his position is logically untenable in a very basic way.


Gay people are not being treated equally if they do not get to marry whom they would like.
I don't know why this is even an issue. How does two people getting married effect anyone but the parties involved? How is gay marriage going to change my life in the least bit? It's not. Live and let live. That's what I believe.

People need to quit taking it personally. They don't want to get married to hurt anyone. They just want to be happy with the people they are in love with. Why is that wrong? The more love in this world the better. The more happily married couples in the world, the better.

And if strangers in Vegas can get married, why can't gay couples who have been together for years?

I think this issue needs to be let go. Like I said live and let live. It's the 21st century. We have bigger things to worry about.

And for the ones who believe that it's against god, don't worry about it. You aren't the one doing it. Worry about yourself. I don't believe that love can be against god. All love is a good thing, right?


@Paul -

We are entitled to our own beliefs and it is hard for me to say that they aren't receiving the same benefits if they file the necessary document with the State the do receive medical benefits, if they sign a power of attorney the do in fact get treated the same.

Married couples have to be authorized and/or legally designated by their spouse in order to be speak or sign on their behalf. If there are children involved by a prior marriage and there is an absent parent we can't just assume the schools or doctors will allow the step parent to make a decision we have to be given authorization.

We can't just call the credit card company, bank or insurance company without first being authorized too. So tell me how does it differ.



"The domestic partnership act was put in place to ensure that they too received benefits and similar issues that married couples receive."

Exactly the problem, the benefits and rights are SIMILAR, but not identical. There are problems abound with domestic partnerships that don't occur in marriages. (I'm speaking of course about legal issues and the like, not problems in the relationships themselves)

"Just because you oppose gay marriage doesn't mean you believe they shouldn't be treated equally."

Is the argument here" separate but equal"? How well has that worked out in the past? Was that fair?


Disillunioned Former Dem

I have to say, given how he's faltered time and again, I'm beginning to suspect that the reason for Obama's fence-sitting on gay rights issues is not because he's trying to appease the right; it's because he's trying to appease the left.

Obama is a moderate who frankly could have won on a Republican ticket twenty years ago. He only seems left to us now because of the country's extreme rightward tilt since Clinton. He is not a friend of the cultural left, and it's about time we woke up to that.

His stance on gay rights comes down to toleration. The problem isn't that he's not helping; it's that he's hurting.

FWIW, I'm a straight woman who's so pro-marriage she's getting married next month, and I'm disgusted at the notion that my gay friends shouldn't have the same right to marry the ones they love.

Disillusioned Former Dem

Oh cripes, I'm so frustrated I misspelled my own handle.



Just because wikipedia gives you the definition doesn't mean it is so. I have friends, family, married, And who are just living together. With and without children and their benefits are the same the only thing that truly effected whether or not it differed is if one person was still married and was still being covered on another persons policy. Or they didn't apply with the State and they weren't eligible in that case it was no one's fault but their own.


Actually, saying you oppose gay marriage IS saying that gay people shouldn't be treated equally. Marriage affords more than the tax benefits. It is about acknowledging that the love between a couple is recognized by society...domestic partners are not treated the same. If you really believe in equality for all people, you can't say you don't support the right for all people to have the same recognition of their love. It's inherently inequal treatment. Obama is walking a fine political line. He's trying to play to both sides. It won't work.

Paul Thornton

@Cynthia: In his decision, Walker includes a list of differences between domestic partnership and marriage. It's in the first few pages, IIRC.


He'll "lose the gay community'? Well, *this* gay (and I was same-sex married in California) was smart enough not to vote for him in the first place.


He isn't saying he "opposes" same sex marriages. He is saying that it's an issue for the states! He is one man, that isn't a decision one person should make for an entire country. It's up to the people. The states can govern themselves on this issue! Stop trying to see yourself as being discriminated against, and trying to act as the victim. Stop being a victim, start being a hero. I support Gay marriage completely, I don't support bashing the president because he feels it isn't a one man decision.

Paul Thornton

@Aaron: You write, "He isn't saying he 'opposes' same sex marriages." Axelrod says of Obama, "The president does oppose same-sex marriage, but he supports equality for gay and lesbian couples...."



My reference to wikipedia had nothing to do with the differences between marriage and domestic partnerships, it was in reference to a previous US policy that separated races, but proposed "equal" facilities.

Read before you reply.


Obama is correct in this stance on propostion 8. He is happily married man with a nice and well raised family, why should he succumb to the pressures of the kinky and weird among us ? Homosexuality did not build America, the heterosexual pioneers did ! The peopel of California are correct in opposing this vile distortion of sexuality !



How can you honestly say that not allowing people to do something that others can is allowing the same rights?

I do not have the right to marry a man because I'm gay. You have the right to marry a man because you're straight. When it comes down to it, you have a right that is not extended to me. And besides, the rights you explained (child welfare, domestic partnership) are not enshrined in marriage, but in power of attorney. Meaning, I would have to allow my "spouse" to make every decision for me for the duration of the power. There is no pick and choose here.

Oh and by the way, domestic partnership is not the same as civil union. I have a domestic partnership, because my place of employment generously extends that option to me. My state (Michigan) does not. The federal government does not.

I feel like the next thing you will do is attempt to explain how 1+1 does not equal 2.



Ew, get a grip on reality. As if there were no homosexuals during colonial times.


Lord have mercy on our souls...


Obama may be fickle on his position for political reasons, but those who stand firm on the Creator's definition and design of marriage do so for eternal reasons.


@Seth - I am so tired of being told that because I am straight I don't go through or have some of the same issues another person has.

I understand being treated different being in a BI-RACIAL family, being told I couldn't obtain residence because we were different. Being told I couldn't have a place because they didn't rent to people with children and having to fight for being discriminated against because I had a child and taking it to court to make sure couples like us could speak up. You can't even begin to tell me how it feels.

So you pompous jerk just because your gay doesn't make you any different it just means unless you are willing to step up and not wait for someone to fight your battle don't be so quick to judge another person's intelligence.



Then you, of all people, should understand the importance of minority rights, up to and including marriage.

Just saying...


Gay people just don't get it. If you believe in God, then it is clearly stated in the Bible as wrong! If you believe in science, then how is it possible to pro-create. You can't win! If Obama allows gay marriage to be possible he will not only be going against our four fathers that founded this country on God! Not gays! He doesn't want to be the first president to allow this he will be criticized till the end and forget about a second term. The supreme court will not let this happen either. You'll see! And another thing where does this "love issue" stop? So if a father loves his son can they get married, or a daughter and mother are in love - can they get married?? Or someone loves their animal can they marry that too?? Where does this end? Because hey if they're really in love you can't deny them that can you? This is really a joke!! Is this the kind of country we want to bring our children up in, and the pathetic part is that gay people don't care about the children because they can't have them theirselves. So frustrating how lost these people are and it's scary.

Gay is not Straight

hey Gay people.. You call your self gay.. SO call your union something different.. Most people want you to have the same rights but you are attacking something meant to be sacred to people..

Why can't liberals just stop attacking things.. Evil people


So, fanta, you actually believe that some of the Founding Fathers, the pioneers, the cowboys did not have same-sex desires, probably in equal measure as the populace today? Jeez, sounds like rationality isn't your strong point - name-calling is - but perhaps your screenname is short for "fantasy?"


@ Cynthia

Yeah. Black people could drink from their water fountains, white people from theirs. It was still all water, right?

Dan Rains

No matter how Alexrod spins it, my president's position makes NO sense.

I'm disappointed in Obama, who cannot articulate a rational basis for denying marriage to gays and lesbians. His "back of the bus" viewpoint on marriage is disgusting. Just what part of "equality" doesn't he understand? It's pathetic. Just switch "black" for "gay". It's like he's saying "I don't believe black people should be allowed to marry, but hey, let them go to the back of the bus for a civil union ceremony. They'll STILL get to Downtown Equality since they're on the bus, but the SPECIAL seats are for the white people."

When you keep in mind that Californians TOOK AWAY the right of marriage from a group of people (in this case, gays), it would be like all of a sudden black people were to wake up and be told, "Well, Amos, you'll just have to walk to work today because it's 2010 and we don't allow any black people on the bus anymore. We love you and consider you equal, but as of this morning, get your black ass off the bus."

As Judge Walker said, "Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as “the right to same-sex marriage” would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy —— namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages."


You do realize that "Thusly" is not a word right?


Now that white liberals have gotten their California homosexual 'marriage' with a few weakminded African Americans following along side, there is no more need for the black prez. Duked once again. Liberals been doing the "black vote" the same way since the voting rights act.


Js10jj, What part of 1st amendment don't you understand. You believe whatever you want but don't force people to believe what you want.


Bill, Exactly. After ll When Perez v. Sharp legalize interracial marriage in California. Californians opposed by 90%,By Those Yes on 8r's logic that should be allowed to put to a vote.


I have to say, I disagree with the President on this one. I am straight and pro-gay-marriage. Everyone seems to think that the only way to solve the inequality issue is to make gay marriage legal. I think that that is the BEST way to solve the problem, but it isn't the ONLY way. Marriage in our country has two distinct parts: the legal part, which guarantees the additional rights, etc., and the religious part, which involves the two parties involved promising eternal love for each other before their god of choice. Why not separate the two? The biggest opponents of gay marriage are acting on religious views, so if we separate the two then everyone except those seeking to discriminate against gays will be happy. All religious organizations will retain their right to marry whomever they see fit (as they already do), and the government will be able to assure equal rights to all loving, committed couples. Of course we would need another name for the government issued commitment, but I don't see where that is a problem. And since there is no overlap couples would be free to obtain both a legal commitment (complete with benefits) and a religious commitment from any church, temple, etc. willing to perform the ceremony. "Separation of Church and State" is not a part of our constitution, however we do and have always worked with that idea in mind. I think it's about time to reconcile this issue that is caused by both laying claim to the institution of marriage.


Not all of us believe in a god. Some of us believe in a god or gods different from yours. Some other faiths see no problems with gay marriage, and if I remember correctly, your faith lumped the "no sleeping with the same sex" bit along with "don't eat pigs" before Christianity broke off from Judaism.
As for those who believe in Science, marriage and procreation are not linked. Haven't you noticed how many people have kids but no spouse? Furthermore, procreation would work best with harems, not marriages. Marriage is about love, not god, and not procreation. The government keeps its fingers in this pie because it helps with management of the country. Religion does the same because it helps in manipulation of its followers.
As for your "love issue" problem, marriage is a LEGAL CONTRACT. Animals and children under 18 cannot enter legal contracts (if you don't believe me try to have your pet file for a loan), so we don't need to worry about marrying them.
I know many homosexuals, and many of them look forward to raising kids. Don't pretend to know how other people feel, and don't assume that everyone reacts the same way you do.
Finally, no, *this* is not the kind of country I want to raise my kids in. I want to raise my kids in a country where equality is not challenged by people and organizations acting out of self interest. In other words, I want my kids to be able to grow up in a nation where marriage and other rights are not restricted by the religious, ethnic, economic, or any other majority, but are controlled fairly by legal systems based on morality.


Wait a minute: you live in the state that put a human rights question up for a vote? A state where the majority voted against the human rights of individuals? A state where gay “activists” were too scared to join the suit initially, although they weren’t too scared to celebrate the results? A state that to date has experienced precisely zero of the shut-things-down-because-we’re-serious protests that are evident in many other countries (and were evident in this country during the "civil rights era") when those people consider their dignity trampled upon? That state? And you have the chutzpah to criticize Obama? Well, Mr. Thornton, you’re not helping either.

Mark ML

If these statements don't make liberals see that Obama is a spineless hypocritical politician, then nothing will.

And you don't have any problem with this? You may have not liked Bush, but at least he stood by his beliefs and didn't double-speak for political points.

Let's see...Obama says he doesn't believe in gay marriage, but thinks states should decide...and yet he opposes Prop. 8, which was a state deciding that gay marriage is wrong...and he supports a court-ruling that will ultimately enforce gay marriage in the entire country if it succeeds. Wow!



There is proof that same-sex marriage and copulation cannot provide the adequate protection that nature has bestowed upon traditional couples for children.

David in Houston

Cynthia's complete disconnect between the discrimination that she has faced in her life and the discrimination that gay citizens face is nothing short of mind-boggling.

Sixty years ago the public overwhelmingly was against interracial marriage (70% opposed). Should the "will of the people" been respected when their position was clearly discriminatory and irrational? Do people like Cynthia not see the obvious parallel? Does history not teach us anything?

David Ehrenstein

Who would have imagined that the first African-American President would demand "Separate But Equal" for a select portion of American Citizens? And as Judge Walker's ruling shows when it comes to marriage vs. "Civil Unions," separate is not equal in any way shape or form. Shame!

Darren Shupe

I think "Disillusioned Former Dem" has it exactly right. The problem that most progressives have with President Obama is that he simply refuses to show a little sack and stand up for progressive principles. I understand that political realities often involve waiting a bit for change to occur, or being willing to compromise to get most of what you want -- but the change most of us expected President Obama to deliver simply hasn't transpired. When he can't even stand up and say that gay people deserve the same rights to marriage that heterosexual people possess - frankly, that makes me angry.

Harry Truman was willing to come out in favor of universal health care in the late 1940s, and he desegregated the armed services despite massive opposition. FDR was willing to pack the Supreme Court, if necessary, to get his agenda accomplished (he didn't succeed, of course, but most of the agenda itself survived). It would be lovely if President Obama started to demonstrate that kind of leadership rather than constantly trying to appeal to some sort of "moderate base."


Can this man speak in a straightforward manner? After millions and millions of dollars donated to him by gay people, he's still splitting hairs. I WILL NOT be voting for him again a 2nd time.

Regardless ... thank the gods 8 is overturned!! Thank you Judge Walker!!! and Thank You Olson and Boies!!!


"The president opposed Proposition 8 at the time — he felt it was divisive and mean-spirited," he said, adding that Obama believes that governing marriage is "an issue for the states."

Governing marriage is an issue for the states....how strange. Illegal immigration is not an issue for the states?


Well, if marriage is no longer between one man and one woman, why are we prosecuting Mormans and Muslims, then?

Will we recognize those marriages?


Obama has never been openly for gay marriage. During the campaign both democrats were very vocally against gay marriage. In private, I suspect Hillary Clinton (just like Laura Bush who came out in favor of gay marriage in a recent interview) has no problem w/gay marriage but I'm not so sure about Obama.


I'm getting really tired of trying to untangle statements like this to figure out what Obama actually believes. On the face of it, he opposes gay marriage but wouldn't vote against it because that would be mean. Where's the guy we voted for?

Separate-but-equal fails because even if you start out with heterosexual marriage and same-sex civil unions equal under the law, you've only won the battle, not the war. The rights extended to people in same-sex civil unions can be chipped away at without affecting the majority.

Legalizing same-sex marriage is the only way to permanently achieve equality.


" (read Patt Morrison's excellent post earlier Thursday dismissing the conflict-of-interest claims against His Gayness) "

LOL. That puts the matter at rest because Patt Morrison wrote the final decision?


The judgement is tainted by a judge who refused to recuse himself due to the overwhelming apparent, and prejudicial, conflict of interest.


Outlaw all government-sanctioned marriages. It's none of the government's business. Let consenting adults make whatever legal arrangements they want. It's called a contract. That's it. Period. Get the government out of people's personal business and their private lives. Marriage is a private matter. Smaller government. More privacy. Lower taxes.

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