December 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
White House mum on Prop 8 case

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had no direct response on Tuesday when asked whether President Obama was concerned about the outcome of a case at the Supreme Court that could overturn California’s Proposition 8.

The question was posed to Carney by the Washington Blade after he deferred to the Justice Department an earlier question on whether the Obama administration would take a public stance on the Prop 8 lawsuit, which the Supreme Court agreed to take up last week.

Asked whether that deferral meant Obama is unconcerned about the outcome of the case, Carney again deferred to the Justice Department, saying, “Again, I just don’t have anything more for you, and I’d refer you to the Department of Justice.”

Carney similarly had no comment when asked to describe Obama’s reaction upon learning the news that the Supreme Court had taken up the Prop 8 and DOMA litigation.

Following the briefing, Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokesperson, told the Washington Blade, “No updates at this point.”

The Obama administration has faced a renewed call to speak out on the Prop 8 lawsuit now that the Supreme Court has agreed to consider the constitutionality of California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Participation from the Obama administration could come in the form of a friend-of-the-court brief, although the Justice Department could also intervene in the case.

In a conference call last week following the Supreme Court’s announcement, Ted Olson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case, said participation from the Obama administration would have “great effect” on the outcome.

“I would hate to predict what the United States government is doing, but given the stand the president of the United States and the attorney general of the United States made with respect to marriage equality, we would certainly hope that they would participate,” Olson said.


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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