President Barack Obama lied about his position on same-sex marriage in order to win votes in the 2008 election, his former chief campaign adviser David Axelrod writes in a new book, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.”
Obama supported same-sex marriages then, but begrudgingly took the counsel of his advisers and said publicly he opposed same-sex marriage for religious reasons, according to excerpts of Axelrod’s book obtained by Time.
“Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,'” Axelrod writes.
Obama promised in 2008 not to be like other politicians who change their views for political reasons. “Having prided himself on forthrightness, though, Obama never felt comfortable with his compromise and, no doubt, compromised position,” Axelrod writes. “He routinely stumbled over the question when it came up in debates or interviews.”
After one event where Obama said he opposes same-sex marriage, he told Axelrod “I’m just not very good at bullshitting.”
Although Obama said as early as 1996, when he was a senate candidate, that he favors legalizing same-sex marriages, he claimed in 2010 that he was “evolving” from a position of opposing them.
“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” Obama told Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in 2008. “Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”
Only after Vice President Joe Biden said on “Meet the Press” in 2012 that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, did Obama publicly say he supports same-sex marriage.
“The president was chomping at the bit to announce his support for the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed,” Axelrod writes. “And having watched him struggle with this issue for years I was ready, too.”
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