The Obama campaign finally weighed in on the gay marriage debate this week, criticizing a North Carolina referendum banning gay marriage and civil unions that passed overwhelmingly yesterday:
“The president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples,” Obama North Carolina campaign spokesman Cameron French said, in a Tuesday statement on the vote over Amendment 1.
“He believes the North Carolina measure singles out and discriminates against committed gay and lesbian couples, which is why he did not support it,” said French. “President Obama has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples and is disappointed in the passage of this amendment. On a federal level, he has ended the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act and extended key benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.”
This doesn’t indicate a shift in position for Obama, who supports civil unions but has supposedly been in a vague state of evolution on gay marriage for the past year and a half. But the lack of specifics in his statement – notice he doesn’t make a distinction between gay marriage and civil unions – shows how much effort he’s making to remain ambiguous on the issue, at least for now.
According to ABC News, Obama’s cabinet members have suddenly gone silent on the subject on gay marriage. But the issue is unlikely to go away, thanks to some awkward campaign scheduling next Monday. Obama is slated to attend an award ceremony with a prominent gay marriage advocate, and then make an appearance at a fundraiser with Ricky Martin. Seriously:
There’s a chance that the radio silence might be broken at any public events cabinet secretaries have in the near future, when a reporter could sneak in a question about gay marriage. And the topic is likely to resurface on Monday, if not frequently before then, when Obama accepts a “medal of distinction” from Barnard College, which also is giving the award to Evan Wolfson, the founder of the pro-gay group Freedom to Marry.
That same day, Obama is scheduled to collect checks from donors in New York City at a fundraiser with Ricky Martin aimed at the gay community.
Also, note this. The gay marriage advocate has already promised to raise the issue with the president at the Barnard College event, reports ABC News:
Wolfson said that when he meets Obama at Barnard, “I will encourage him to do what Vice President Biden has done to complete his journey in support of the freedom to marry and join the majority for marriage.”
Obama can’t possibly be crazy enough to meet up with gay marriage activists in a public setting at a time like this, can he? Maybe Ed Morrissey is right, and there are too many coincidences here. Any chance that Obama announces the completion of his gay marriage evolution at this Barnard College award ceremony, and then swoops into the gay community fundraiser with Ricky Martin, effectively solving his campaign’s troubles with Hollywood and gay donors all in a single day? That would certainly be the perfect time and place to do it, and it would leave Mitt Romney trapped in Obama’s self-created news cycle once again.