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

August 5, 2010 |  1:26 pm

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

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