April 9, 2012 | by Chris Johnson
Obama comes out against Minn. anti-gay amendment

The Obama campaign has officially stated that the president’s opposition to “divisive and discriminatory” measures targeting LGBT families extends to a pending anti-gay marriage ballot initiative in Minnesota.

In a statement Monday, Obama campaign Minnesota Communications Director Kristin Sosanie said Obama “does not support” the measure, which would make a ban on same-sex marriage part of the state constitution.

“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples,” Sosanie said. “That’s what the Minnesota ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the president does not support it.”

The statement is identical to the statement the Obama campaign put out against a similar anti-gay ballot measure that’s pending North Carolina. The only difference is one word: the state has been changed from Minnesota to North Carolina.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has had similar words when asked about anti-gay marriage measures during White House news conferences, saying the president has ”long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts that deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples.”

In an organizational statement, Minnesotans United for All Families thanked the Obama campaign for coming out against the amendment.

“We’re happy that President Obama and Minnesotans from all walks of life see this amendment for what it is — a government exclusion to a group of people simply because of who they are,” the organization said.

Like the North Carolina statement, the statement on Minnesota is an update from a statement the White House put out against the amendment earlier in May when the legislature first voted to send the measure to voters. The statement at the time didn’t as clearly articulate opposition to the measure.

“The president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples or to take such rights away,” Shin Inouye, White House spokesperson, said at the time. “While he believes this is an issue best addressed by the states, he also believes that committed gay couples should have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country.”

While the Obama campaign has weighed in on ballot measures in Minnesota and North Carolina, it has said nothing about the pro-marriage equality measure in Maine, nor anything about possible referenda over marriage equality laws in Washington State and Maryland. Obama said he could “evolve” to support same-sex marriage, but hasn’t yet publicly backed marriage rights for gay couples.

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

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