Pressed several times for his personal views of same-sex marriage, President Obama's good natured answer was “I’m not going to make news on that today -- Good try, though.” Later, he added: “I’ll keep on giving you the same answer until I give you a different one. And that won’t be today.”
The president also outlined just what he has done for LGBT equality:
"This administration, under my direction, has consistently said we cannot discriminate as a country against people on the basis of sexual orientation. We have done more in the two and a half years that I been in here than the previous 43 presidents to uphold that principle, whether it's ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' making sure that gay and lesbian partners can visit each other in hospitals, making sure that federal benefits can be provided to same-sex couples, across the board - hate crimes - we have made sure that that is a central principle of this administration because I think it's a central principle of America."And at this point, so do I. Think it's a good thing. And this evening I'm wondering if it isn't actually the best thing for the president to be doing at this point.
"We've...filed briefs before the Supreme Court that say we think that any discrimination against gays, lesbians, transgenders is subject to heightened scrutiny. We've said that DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, is unconstitutional."
"And so I think the combination of what states are doing, what the courts are doing, the actions that we're taking administratively all are how the process should work, Ultimately," he concluded "I think we're moving in a direction of greater equality, and I think that's a good thing."
I realize this puts me at odds with some of my activist allies who want President Obama to give us a Senator Grisanti moment that will give us goose-bumps and go viral on YouTube, Who want to hear from Obama's lips the words "I support marriage equality for same-sex couples." Who want the Oval Office occupant to stop "evolving" already and step up, speak up and give us marriage equality.
Here's my take: We don't need Obama to get marriage. We need Obama to get re-elected. And if he needs to continue to "evolve" personally on marriage equality while he's supporting hate crimes legislation, repealing DADT and calling DOMA unconstitutional -- not to mention recording an "It Gets Better" video, making an LGBT Pride Month Proclamation and hosting a reception for LGBT leaders at the White House -- well, then I can wait for my goosebump moment on YouTube.
Because I think having an "Evolver in Chief" model for the nation that you can be undecided about "gay marriage" and still fight for equal protection for LGBT Americans may in the end be a gift -- not just to the marriage equality movement but to the nation as a whole. It offers a brilliant illustration of the fact that nobody -- not even the President of the United States -- gets to write their theology into our Constitution. And as the DOMA cases wend their way to the Supreme Court it gives us real hope that we can finally strike down the act that prevents our marriages from receiving the 1138 federally protected rights the opposite sex couple next door get without thinking about it.
People "evolve" about gay marriage. Presidents of the United States don't "evolve" about equal protection. Working to repeal DOMA wlll not contradict his position that marriage is a matter for the states to decide. But it will provide equal protection to married couples -- whether same or opposite sex -- and will take the federal government where it ought to be: out of the discrimination business.
So, Mr. President, thanks the remider about everything we have accomplished in this morning. Thanks for having some of my friends over for drinks this afternoon. And thanks for your continued commitment to moving in a direction of greater equality. I believe we're going to get there. I believe you're going to be on the right side of history with us. And I believe I will get goose bumps when you "evolve" to the point of giving us the different answer you weren't ready to give us today.
We're ready whenever you are. But in the meantime, keep up the good work!