A White House spokesperson late Friday reiterated President Obama’s belief that the marriage issue should be left to the states in response to the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in New York.
Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, said the president believes gay couples should receive “the same rights and legal protections” as opposite-sex couples, but wants states to determine the best approach to offer these protections.
“The president has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples,” Inouye said. “That’s why he has called for repeal of the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ and determined that his administration would no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the courts. The states should determine for themselves how best to uphold the rights of their own citizens. The process in New York worked just as it should.”
Inouye issued the statement via e-mail in response to an inquiry from the Washington Blade. The statement recalls the speech Obama gave Thursday during an LGBT fundraiser in which he mentioned the then-pending marriage legislation in New York, but took no position on the bill. Obama said the New York was “doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do” by engaging in debate on the bill.
During his presidential campaign, Obama said he believes marriage is between one man and one woman, backed civil unions for gay couples. Since October, Obama has suggested he could evolve on the marriage issue, but he has yet to endorse gay nuptials. LGBT rights supporters have been pushing him to complete this evolution to back marriage equality.