January 20, 2012 | by Chris Johnson
Will Obama endorse marriage equality in SOTU?

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Friday he wouldn’t rule “in or out” the possibility of President Obama endorsing same-sex marriage in the upcoming State of the Union address.

Carney made the remarks on whether Obama would announce support for marriage equality during the State of the Union address, which is set to take place Tuesday before a joint session of Congress, in response to a question from the Washington Blade.

“I will not rule anything in or out,” Carney said. “I’m just not going to talk about — beyond pointing at his words — his personal views on this. I think his administration’s policies on related issues are there for people to judge.”

Obama doesn’t support same-sex marriage, but since October 2010 he’s suggested his views could “evolve” in favor of same-sex marriage, However, he hasn’t yet made an endorsement in support of marriage rights for gay couples.

However, in 1996, Obama, during his bid to become an Illinois state senator, said in a questionnaire response to the Windy City Times, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

Carney commented on the possibility of marriage equality in the State of the Union address after CNN’s Dan Lothian asked for an update on Obama’s evolving views on marriage. Among CNN’s questions were whether Obama talks with people about marriage or reads books as part of this evolution process.

The White House spokesperson said he doesn’t “have an update” on Obama’s position on marriage, but articulated accomplishments that Obama has achieved on LGBT issues in his response.

“I think it is important as part of my answer here to just remind you about the president’s record on these issues,” Carney said. “Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and on marriage in particular, having the federal government stand down from, or his administration stand down from defending DOMA, believing that it’s unconstitutional and working to have it repealed.”

Carney said he’d leave it to the president to describe his “personal views,” but reiterated his administration’s record on “these issues that are very important” is clear.

A transcript between media outlets and Carney on the marriage issue follows:

CNN: Can you give us a status update on same-sex marriage — where the president is on that? That evolution process. And what is he doing to assist that evolution? Does he talk with people? Does he read books? What is he doing?

Jay Carney: Dan, I appreciate the question. I don’t have an update for you on that. I think it is important as part of my answer here to just remind you about the president’s record on these issues. Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and on marriage in particular, having the federal government stand down from, or his administration stand down from defending DOMA, believing that it’s unconstitutional and working to have it repealed.

The president’s personal views I will leave for him to describe, but this administration, his administration’a record on these issues that are very important, I think are pretty clear.

CNN: No movement?

Carney: Again, I’ll leave it to him to describe. It’s the same answer I have given in the past to Chris, for example, who has his hand raised. And I think you deprived him of the opportunity to ask it today.

Washington Blade: I want to follow up. Can I jump in?

Carney: Sure. Chris, how are you?

Blade: I’m doing good. How are you?

Carney: Very well.

Blade: A number of state legislatures in the coming weeks — including those in Washington State, New Jersey and Maryland — are going to try to push for same-sex marriage legislation in the coming weeks. I know you said you don’t want to talk specifics about the State of the Union address, but I was just wondering if you could rule out the possibility of the president completing his evolution and endorsing marriage equality next week?

Carney: Again, I will not rule anything in or out. I’m just not going to talk about — beyond pointing at his words — his personal views on this. I think his administration’s policies on related issues are there for people to judge.

Watch the video here (via Think Progress)

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

3 Comments
  • This is pathetic. Obama gives just enough lip service to get LGBT cash and votes. Do you really think he will “evolve?”

  • @Cynical voter — since you asked… YES, I think Obama will evolve; and though you did not ask, NO, I don’t think any of the Republican candidates will evolve. The Obama years may not have been perfect, but they have been far superior to the Bush years, and none of the current Republican candidates would be better than the Bush years. Most would be worse. That is what matters in the 2012 elections.

  • @MaplewoodSteve – I agree, Obama is far better than Bush, and I do think a candidate such as Gingrich or Santorum would put back any progress we’ve made in recent years. We cannot afford to let them or any other Republican candidate into the White House in November.

    I am hopeful that Obama will step up and say that he endorses same-sex marriage. I completely understand how most of us are becoming impatient with the “evolving” he needs to do. I do wonder how much of what seems to be inaction on his part will turn out to be clever maneuvering when the time comes to really show his cards. We’ll see!

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