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Is Obama’s marriage position the same as Rick Perry’s?

President’s record is good enough to run on: advocate



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

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to directly address a question Tuesday about President Obama’s continued lack of support for marriage equality and a potential Republican presidential candidate taking on a virtually identical position.

Under questioning from the Washington Blade, Carney declined to directly answer when asked about concerns of misjudging support from the LGBT community heading into the 2012 election by holding off on support for marriage equality as Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has said marriage should be left to the states — echoing Obama’s recently articulated position on the issue.

“I think you know that this president’s record on LGBT issues is exceptional,” Carney said. “He’s very committed to it. He worked very hard for [‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’] repeal, and he continues to work hard on these issues. And it’s not an issue of political support; it’s what he believes is the right thing to do and he will continue to do that.”

According to the Associated Press, Perry said last week at a Republican fundraiser that he’s fine with New York’s recent approval of same-sex marriage because he believes in the 10th Amendment right of states to regulate marriage as he remains personally opposed to gay nuptials.

“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me,” he was quoted as saying. “That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.”

Perry, who’s widely expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, backed a state constitutional amendment in Texas in 2004 that bans same-sex marriage as well as civil unions.

Later during the speech, Perry brandished his conservative leanings by taking pot shots at Obama and criticizing the president’s decision to pull 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by the summer of 2012. According to the AP, Perry said Obama should listen to his military commanders “and not his political advisers.”

Perry’s remarks on marriage are similar to the position Obama expressed recently on marriage during a news conference last month when he said the legalization of same-sex marriage was a “good thing.”

“What I’ve seen happen over the last several years, and what happened in New York last week, I think is a good thing because what we saw was the people of New York having a debate talking through these issues,” Obama said. “It was contentious, it was emotional, but ultimately, they made a decision to recognize civil marriage, and I think that’s exactly how things should work.”

Obama added he believes “each community is going to be different, each state is going to be different to work through them.” But when later asked whether his views mean his personally supports same-sex marriage, Obama replied he wasn’t “going to make news on that.”

In 1996, Obama stated in a questionnaire response to what is now the Windy City Times that he supported legalization of same-sex marriage and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages. But the president’s position has changed since that time.

During the presidential campaign, Obama has said he believes marriage should remain between one man and one woman. Starting in October, the president has suggested that his views on marriage could evolve, but he has yet to endorse marriage equality.

Even though he has yet to endorse same-sex marriage, the president has taken steps during his administration to offer protections to same-sex couples. Obama has declared that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and has endorsed the repeal of that law.

One LGBT advocate maintains that even though President Obama has yet to endorse same-sex marriage, his position on LGBT issues is clearly ahead of his competition.

Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters, said he thinks Obama believes his record on LGBT issues is sufficient for him to run in 2012 — a decision that Socarides said is correct.

“I think the president has decided that the record is good enough to run on, especially considering the competition, and I think he’s right,” Socarides said.

A brief transcript of the exchange between the Blade and Carney follows:

Washington Blade: Thanks, Jay. I want to go back to the issue of marriage. Last week Governor Rick Perry of Texas said he believes the issue should be left to the states, and the decision to legalize same-sex marriage in New York is fine with him, even though he personally is opposed to same-sex marriage. That’s virtually the same position as the President’s. Is there any concern that the President may be misjudging support from the LGBT community heading into the election if he’s offering the same position on marriage as a likely Republican presidential candidate?

Jay Carney: Look, Chris, I think you know that this President’s record on LGBT issues is exceptional. He’s very committed to it. He worked very hard for DADT repeal, and he continues to work hard on these issues. And it’s not an issue of political support; it’s what he believes is the right thing to do and he will continue to do that.

UPDATE: According to the Austin American-Statesman, Mark Miner, a Perry spokesperson, said the governor supports a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Such a measure would invalidate New York’s marriage law. Obama opposes amendments that seek to ban same-sex marriage.

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  1. Bill Perdue

    July 27, 2011 at 5:25 am

    The differences between bigots in the Democrat Party and bigots in the Republican Party are cosmetic at best.

    On November 6th, 2012 vote for the left, vote against Democrats, vote socialist, vote against Republicans or simply sit it out. Our energies should be focused on building a mass movement with an open ended campaign of mass actions to compel them to make our agenda a reality. Those who advocate voting for Democrats or Republicans betray our movement.

  2. Peter Rosenstein

    July 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Barack Obama deserves the support of the LGBT community no matter what a right wing conservative like Perry says. And as we can see Perry will quickly back away from anything that resembles a statement that he believes in the full civil and human rights for the LGBT community. Barack Obama isn’t immune from criticism from the LGBT community and being pushed to go further than he has. But that in no way diminishes what he has done and the fact that he deserves all our votes for his reelection.

  3. Chris

    July 28, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Chris Johnson…seriously you’re really obsessed with Obama. This is becoming pathetic now……If you don’t plan on supporting him..then juts don’t. You have more negative articles than positive!

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Louisiana lawmakers fail to overturn Edwards veto of Trans sports bill

Edwards further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.”



Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards (Photo Credit: Official state portrait)

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana lawmakers failed to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto last month of a bill that would have barred trans girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools.

The measure, Senate Bill 156 authored by Sen. Beth Mizell titled the ‘the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,’ in the Governor’s eyes, “was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” Edwards said in his veto statement;

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue. 

The Republican majority state House chamber failed to override the Governor’s veto after voting 68-30 to override it, according to the state legislature’s website.

The vote narrowly missed the 70-vote threshold needed in the lower chamber to override the veto.

Two-thirds of both the House and Senate must vote to override a governor’s veto, according to the local Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate.

The Governor reacted to the news that his veto withstood Republican efforts to overturn it in a press conference Wednesday.

Edwards noted that in his view he had “rejected a play” that had no place in Louisiana. 

“I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best. We rejected a play out of a national playbook that just had no place in Louisiana. That bill wasn’t crafted for our state, I mean go read it and look at the arguments that were made. None of that applies here,” Edwards said.

He further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.” 

“We have to be better than that,” Edwards said. “We have to be better than that.” 


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Federal court blocks West Virginia Law banning Trans youth sports

“It hurt that the State of West Virginia would try to block me from pursuing my dreams. I just want to play.”



Becky Pepper-Jackson (Photo credit: ACLU/Raymond Thompson)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A judge of the United States District Court, Southern District of West Virginia ruled Wednesday that 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson must be allowed to try out for the girls’ cross-country and track teams at her school, blocking West Virginia from enforcing a law that bans transgender girls and women from participating in school sports. 

The ruling came in the lawsuit challenging the ban filed by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of West Virginia, and Cooley LLP.

“I am excited to know that I will be able to try out for the girls’ cross-country team and follow in the running shoes of my family,” said Becky Pepper-Jackson, the plaintiff in the lawsuit. “It hurt that the State of West Virginia would try to block me from pursuing my dreams. I just want to play.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed H.B. 3293 into law at the end of April. It was one of hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills pushed in state legislatures across the country in 2021. During legislative debate, it was not endorsed by any mainstream sporting or health organizations. A similar law in Idaho was blocked by a federal court in 2020, and a federal court in Connecticut recently dismissed a challenge to policies that allow all girls, including girls who are transgender, to participate on girls’ sports teams. Legal challenges are underway against similar laws passed in other states.

The Supreme Court recently refused to disturb Gavin Grimm’s victory at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where he prevailed in challenging his school’s anti-transgender discrimination against him. This decision — which is binding precedent in West Virginia federal court — said that federal law protects transgender students from discrimination in schools.

“This is great news for Becky, and while our work is not done yet, today’s ruling jibes with similar rulings in other courts across the country,” said Avatara Smith-Carrington, Tyron Garner Memorial Law Fellow, Lambda Legal. “It is our hope that courts recognize and address discrimination when they see it, and nowhere is it more visible than in these stark attacks against trans youth.”

“Becky — like all students — should have the opportunity to try out for a sports team and play with her peers,” said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project. “We hope this also sends a message to other states to stop demonizing trans kids to score political points and to let these kids live their lives in peace.” 

“We’ve said all along this cruel legislation would not survive a legal challenge, and we’re encouraged by the court’s decision today,” said ACLU-WV Legal Director Loree Stark. “We hope trans kids throughout West Virginia who felt attacked and wronged by the passage of this legislation are feeling empowered by today’s news.”

“We are extremely gratified — for Becky, and for all trans youth — at the court’s recognition that the law and the facts clearly support treating people who are transgender fairly and equally. Discrimination has no place in schools or anywhere else,” said Kathleen Hartnett of Cooley LLP.

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Conservative groups attack proposed Alabama capital city’s LGBTQ law

Allege law requires Christians to violate their religious beliefs



Alabama State Capitol, HIV, gay news, Washington Blade
Alabama State Capitol (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama capital’s City Council is being urged to reject a proposed ordinance that would make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes under the law.  Matthew Clark, the Executive Director of the conservative Alabama Center for Law and Liberty sent a letter on behalf of his group and six allied organizations asking the Council to abandon a vote implementing the ordnance.

According to the letter, the groups allege that the law would require Christians to violate their religious beliefs or face fines under certain circumstances. Prominent among the other signatures is Mathew D. Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as an extremist anti-LGBTQ hate group.

The SPLC, which has its headquarters in Montgomery, writes; “The Liberty Counsel has also been active in the battle against same-sex marriage and hate crimes legislation, which it claimed in a 2007 news release to be “’thought crimes’ laws that violate the right to freedom of speech and of conscience” and will “have a chilling effect on people who have moral or religious objections to homosexual behavior.” In that same release, the Liberty Counsel falsely claimed that the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo., had nothing to do with homosexuality, but instead was “a bungled robbery.”

In the letter Clark noted; ““As we read the ordinance, churches could be fined if they refuse to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice, and they might be fined if they refused to let same-sex couples use their facilities for weddings,” Clark said. “They could also be fined if they declined to hire non-ministerial personnel, such as facility managers or secretaries, whose sexual orientation or gender identity contradicts the tenants of the church’s faith.”

“Christian schools, small business owners, and homeowners are also in the crosshairs. Schools could face liability if they decline to let transgender students use the locker rooms of their choice,” Clark said. “Small business owners like Jack Phillips [referring to Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission] could face liability. And homeowners who list their homes on Airbnb could be fined if they declined to let a same-sex couple engage in sexual activities in their home that violate the tenants of their faith.”

Clark then warned the City Council that if it passes the ordinance, litigation could result and the City would likely lose.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported last month that City Mayor Steven Reed said a council vote in favor of the LGTBQ nondiscrimination ordinance that’s now being drafted in Montgomery would send a message. 

“There are signals that communities can send, and this is an important signal not only to those residents that live here right now but people all over the country that have maybe one idea of Alabama and Montgomery, and we want to show them that there’s a different reality here,” he said. 

Reed and his team have been working with the Human Rights Campaign and other advocacy groups to draft an ordinance that would expand protections for LGBTQ residents in the state’s capital city. The proposed measure, which would specifically target discrimination in government, employment and housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity the Advertiser reported.

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