Liberal bloggers pressed President Obama on his opposition to gay marriage in a private White House meeting Wednesday, but the president refused to budge from his conviction that the government should not sanction marriages between same-sex couples.
Joe Sudbay, a Washington-based writer and deputy editor for AMERICAblog, asked Obama for a clear answer on where he stood on gay marriage, and was told that while his views could “evolve,” Obama said he still thinks gays should not be granted marriage rights.
“I am a strong supporter of civil unions,” Obama said, according to the White House transcript. “I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.” Perhaps in an attempt not to write him off as a firm opponent to gay marriage, Obama added that “attitudes evolve, including mine.”
Obama shares this view with many Republicans, and even falls to the right of a number of conservatives who now say they support gay marriage.
Five well-known writers in the liberal blogging community were present for the meeting, including Barbara Morrill, Duncan Black, Oliver Willis and John Amato. While all have voiced support for the president, most have written scathing posts about people who share Obama’s view on marriage, calling them “bigots,” and “homophobes.” With the slight exception of Sudbay, who has been sharply critical of the Obama administration on gay issues, most of the bloggers present typically reserve their vitriol only for conservatives who oppose gay marriage.
Willis, one of the earliest players in the progressive blogosphere, has called opposition to gay marriage a “bullcrap position,” and once linked to another post that suggested that people who hold Obama’s view are gay themselves.
“People getting married: clearly the worst thing in the world. If they’re gay,” Willis also wrote last year. “Come on.”
Crooks and Liars blogger John Amato wrote in August that people who oppose gay marriage are out to “rob the gay community of basic human rights afforded to the rest of our society,” and called the position “bullshit.” When former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gave a similar reason as Obama for opposing gay marriage, Amato called it “meaningless in the face of human rights.”
Morrill, who writes for the group blog DailyKos, has called conservatives who oppose gay marriage “right-wing, homophobic assholes.” (Morrill has, however, made distinctions between those who do not advocate for gay rights and “bigots.”)
While Sudbay and his team at AMERICAblog have not resorted to calling Obama a “bigot,” they have also refused to give the president a free pass on the issue.
“The real problem is that Team Obama is stuck in 1993,” AMERICAblog editor John Aravosis wrote in Salon last year. “Many of us were willing to cut our new president some slack. Not anymore.”
“He’s on the wrong side of history,” Sudbay wrote in August. “But, he’s on the same side as many GOPers and religious right types.”
Obama recently fielded more criticism among gay issue activists for suspending a court decision that would have ended the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gay soldiers. He reiterated Wednesday that he wants to see the policy ended in Congress and not in a court room.
Despite his views on marriage, Obama told the bloggers that anyone who says the administration has not been supportive of gays is “wrong.”
“I’ll be honest with you,” he said. “I don’t think that the disillusionment is justified.”