Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson claimed credit for President Barack Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage in a Monday interview with The Daily Caller, but also said that Obama’s position should not satisfy voters who support gay marriage.
Before his pivot on the issue in May, Obama held the same position as presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Johnson had made same-sex marriage a central part of his campaign, distinguishing himself from the two major party candidates.
“I think they’re following my campaign. Every day it’s like a very big compliment — you name it, Obama’s doing it,” the former New Mexico governor said. “It’s very flattering.”
Obama’s personal support for same-sex marriage, however, isn’t enough, Johnson said.
“It was a very skillful political maneuver,” he said, but means little because Obama also said the issue should be decided by individual states — more than 40 of which, Johnson noted, have officially banned same-sex marriage.
“That’s very skillful, but saying nothing’s going to happen with regard to marriage equality,” Johnson said. “He did it very skillfully in a way that makes him appear that he’s in favor of marriage equality.”
Obama might have added “what I’m saying will not amount to anything,” Johnson suggested. (RELATED: Artur Davis: Most blacks don’t equate gay rights with civil rights)
Contrary to the president’s position, Johnson said he believes same-sex marriage “is a constitutionally guaranteed right on par with civil rights in the 1960s.”
Johnson is far from alone in parsing Obama’s words and finding them unsatisfactory. Gawker described Obama’s position as “a half-assed, cowardly cop-out” and said that Obama had “affirmed the right of Californians to enshrine bigotry in their state constitution.”
Obama’s self-described “evolution” on the issue was reportedly hastened by Vice President Joe Biden publicly disclosing his own support for same-sex marriage.