Joe Mirabella

White House Backs Off Forgery Response to 1996 Obama Marriage Support

Filed By Joe Mirabella | June 17, 2011 7:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Dan Pfeiffer, gay marriage, marriage equality, Netroots Nation, president obama, same-sex marriage

At Netroots Nation on Friday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer received boos from the audience for the following exchange:

I reached out to the White House Press Department to get clarification. Did the White House really believe that the president's 1996 statement supporting marriage equality was a forgery?

Shin Inouye, White House Specialty Media Director provided me with the following statement: "Dan was not familiar with the history of the questionnaire that was brought up today, but the President's views are clear. 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 three of DOMA and expanded Federal benefits for same sex partners of Federal employees."

So, no. the White House does not believe the 1996 statement supporting marriage for gays and lesbians was forged. So the original question remains: When will the President evolve back to 1996?

I hope for his sake, sooner than later. Friday's communication gaffe was not only annoying, but it made his administration look foolish beyond belief.


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Joe, I'm usually a big fan of your posts, but your headline is incredibly misleading. There was no "forgery response" to back away from because the dude never said it was a forgery.

california panda | June 17, 2011 7:38 PM

So what's his stance on ENDA? Waffle-time, you betcha.

Look at it this way. No claim was made that he didn't sign it but simply that he didn't fill it out. Congree-critters and elected officials sign a huge amount of documents on the assurance of staff members that the document is OK.

Ever bought a house? Did you read every single word including the tiny lettering? If you did the closing probably took hours rather than minutes.

Don't take me wrong. I think this latest mess is another fine bucket of worms and a PR disaster. All I'm saying is it makes sense to me that he might have signed it without reading all parts of the questionaire.

Sorry Deena but it was reported on other blogs that his staff was tiny back then. There is no doubt his views were clear. To push it off on some staff is irresponsible. It was like Ron Paul claiming the racist articles in his newsletter were written by someone else.

OK Tim. Like I said, last time I purchased a house my staff was very tiny, me. I didn't read everything put in front of me. But let me say this. I really don't care who was for what back in 1996. 2011 and beyond is where I care about the stances of elected officials and others.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 18, 2011 11:20 AM

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. - George Santayana

He may not have used the word forgery, but the form was signed, and he did say that Obama did not fill out the form.

Unlike Anthony Weiner, the president is acting through proxies these days - so a swift denial of the denial from higher up can still save him from having to resign in shame.

A coverup is a coverup - and whether the thing denied was private consensual sexting, or a public declaration of support for the right to marry, the lying of the coverup is the problem tha could cause a loss of credibility sufficient to require a resignation.

After all, when Obama weighed in on Weinergate, he said that if he were Anthony Weiner, he would resign. Well, the president should be really, really careful to avoid covering up his past - because the denials of truth can end up hurting him badly.

The fact is that he did support marriage equality in 1996, and that he backed off on that position in his bid to get elected President twelve years later. Like many in politics, he put expediency before principle, as he has shown us many times in his presidency.

(At the same time, he has done more good in some ways than any previous president.)

That was supposed to be a response to @Kevin Erickson's top level comment.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 18, 2011 11:17 AM

It was obviously a lie. One of many coming from the White House on GLBT rights. This is, after all, the Obama White House we're talking about and they're two faced on every question but getting Chicago to host the Olympics.

Ending wars - Obama says he's for peace but somehow the number of countries attacked by the US is growing by leaps and bounds. It now includes Libya and Palestine by proxy, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. With Iraq and Sudan on the near horizon.

Ending tax cuts for the obscene rich - Obama says he's against them but he pushed for them last year.

Preserving Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security - The WH says they want to preserve them but now they're all 'on the table'. Obama is overseeing the most drastic cuts in social programs since Clinton killed welfare and used the saving to hire 200,000 new cops.

Unions - Obama say he's for them but Obama forced the UAW to accept draconian cuts in wages and benefits, change work rules to allow speedup, 'outsourcing' to non union scab outfits, automation a long no strike pledge, which leaves them at the mercy of the bosses. Democrat governors like Cuomo and Brown and Republicans like Walker and Scott took that as a green light to go after unions everywhere.

Now about Obama's claim that he's always been a bigot. He was running for the state senate and his campaign likely didn't have a vast, bureaucratic staff. Like his two-faced hustlers position on other everything else, his position on same sex marriage has been all over the place.

1996: "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." By 1998 he was "Undecided." By 2004 he was for second lass civil unions "Strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed." By 2006, his decision to pander to christian bigots was firming up and he said "I believe that American society can choose to carve out a special place for the union of a man and a woman as the unit of child rearing most common to every culture." And by 2008 he was actively sabotaging same sex marriage in by going before millions of TV Viewers to say that he opposed same sex marriage because 'gawd's in the mix". ""I have stated my opposition to [Prop 8]. I think it is unnecessary. I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..." He thought Prop 8 was unnecessary because DOMA was in place. (Much of this summary was from the New Republics "What Does Obama Really Think About Gay Marriage? A Telling Timeline".

As always, Obama is a two faced liar hustling for votes on both sides of every question. At least his Republican cousins are more honest - they openly hate LGBT folks. Obama does it on the sly.

"At least his Republican cousins are more honest - they openly hate LGBT folks. Obama does it on the sly."

My republican lesbian sister takes this same tack, and it just makes no sense to me. I agree that the dems need to spine up and start fighting the republicans for their values instead of trying to be moderate for votes, but openly hating LGBT people is not a virtue by way of honesty. I'd much rather take people who secretly hate me but accept I deserve equality than a bunch of open bigots.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 18, 2011 11:54 AM

"I'd much rather take people who secretly hate me but accept I deserve equality than a bunch of open bigots. They don't accept your equality. They support DOMA and oppose ENDA just like their Republican cousinbrothers.

They do accept it, they just don't have the guts to fight for it. I'll take the gutless weasels over the rabid dogs any day.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 18, 2011 3:24 PM

Then vote for the Republican in drag.

"Foolish" is an understatement

Johnny K. | June 18, 2011 2:43 PM

If he gave someone else the job (responsibility) of completing the survey, and really did sign it, he "owns" it, no matter what he says later - it stands as an official position. I could perhaps see not going through pages of checked boxes, but to sign off on specific written comments in his name is beyond "foolish" - I'd call it Political Malpractice!

It is obvious what happened. In 1996, it was helpful to his campaign to be for same sex marriage. In 2008, he and his team concluded it was not helpful for his run for the White House. Now for the 2012 election, he and his campaign are watching the situation closely to decide where he will come down on the issue. I suspect he will need every vote, and he will decide he is for same sex marriage. At this point, I really do care why he supports SSM. We need someone who supports our rights. We know no Republican candidate will be with us.