March 7, 2012 | by Chris Johnson
Obama campaign ducks question on marriage in Dem platform

Obama campaign chief Jim Messina (photo public domain)

The Obama camp continues to have no answers on whether President Obama will complete his evolution to endorse marriage equality and support including it in the Democratic Party platform.

During a Wednesday conference call with reporters on the state of the presidential race, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina dodged a question from CNN’s Jessica Yellin on whether Obama will come to support marriage equality before the Democratic National Convention and a plank expressing that support in the party platform.

“There’s a process,” Messina said. “There’s not even a delegate platform committee yet. There’s a process to go through this discussion and the DNC will go through that, and we will have a platform.”

Earlier in the day, DNC convention chair and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reportedly said he backs the idea of including marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.

“I think it’s basic to who we are,” Villaraigosa was quoted as saying in Politico. “I believe in family values, and I believe that we all ought to be able to have a family and marry if you want to. I don’t think the government should be in that business of denying people the fundamental right to marry.”

Last week, 22 U.S. senators responded to requests from the Washington Blade saying they want a plank endorsing of same-sex marriage in the Democratic platform.

The platform committee is set to discuss and agree upon language in the Democratic Party platform when it gathers for the convention Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C. Officials with Democratic National Committee have declined to comment on whether the platform will include marriage equality.

Obama still hasn’t endorsed marriage equality nearly 17 months after he first said he could “evolve” to support it during an interview with progressive bloggers in response to a question from AMERICAblog’s Joe Sudbay.

It’s not the first time the Obama campaign has been asked whether marriage equality will be included in the Democratic Party platform. Last month on ABC News’ “This Week,” Obama campaign adviser and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he doesn’t know if same-sex marriage will be in the platform, adding he hasn’t spoken to the president recently on the issue.

Messina continued that Obama’s stands “in sharp contrast to the other side” and said the president has achieved significant accomplishments for the LGBT community, such as repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The three Republican presidential candidates who’ve won any states in the primaries — Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich — all back a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage throughout the country. Obama voted against the amendment as a U.S. senator.

Santorum has said he’d reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” while Gingrich has said he’d order an “extensive review” of going back to the policy. Romney said he has no plans to return to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

A transcript of the exchange between the reporter and Messina follows:

CNN: …In a Politico breakfast this morning, the DNC convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa said he thinks gay marriage should be part of the party platform. How do you at all feel about this, and does that put the president in an uncomfortable position? Do you think his position might evolve further on this before the convention?

Jim Messina: …Look, we’re the big tent party here. POTUS has a great record on fighting for fundamental fairness for all Americans — “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” [repeal] and many other accomplishments we are very, very proud of.

There’s a process. There’s not even a delegate platform committee yet. There’s a process to go through this discussion and the DNC will go through that, and we will have a platform.

But our record stands in sharp contrast to the other side. What the other side has said is they want a constitutional amendment on anti-marriage, they want to put back into place “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and a bunch of other regressive policies. So they couldn’t be any more contrasted with our record.

And so, there will be a process for that and we will go through that process.

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

4 Comments
  • Not answering questions is the equivalent have not having an answer. Obama’s record isn’t all that wonderful that he can sit back stay silent. Silence still equals death, and if his administration won’t stand up for equality he’s not supporting equality. The Obama administration is trying to please everyone at all times. It can’t be done and Obama owes it to steadfast supporters to speak out against inequality under his administration. Anything less is not support.

    It’s time to look for equality in other areas. Not everyone wants to get married. Now that the self-serving L.& G.’s have their campaign’s well under way it’s time to focus on issues that will effect more than potentially married couples. E.N.D.A. has taken a back seat to marriage equality and it’s time to bring up front so ALL L.G.B.T.’s can benefit from the vast resources currently being spent on marriage.

  • Trying to force a marriage equality plank on the obama campaign is one of the dumbest things the movement could do. All it would do is help elect Republicans. Keep the eye on the ball: Passing marriage equality in the states and defending it in referendums.

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