In a recent interview with The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, President Barack Obama, who in 2008 said he was “not in favor of gay marriage,” expressed frustration with the “gay activists,” who he says pestered him throughout his presidency.
Obama criticized the lack of “awareness” among LGBT activists, suggesting that both they and immigration reform activists would not have criticized him if they had done “sufficient homework” on the issues they were protesting, adding later those activists made him feel “a little bit hurt.”
Obama praised the approach of Ferguson activist Brittney Packard, who he says “just knew her stuff,” before bashing LGBT activists for taking the opposite approach.
“Now, in contrast, there have been times where, let’s say on LGBT issues, when we were trying to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I got the Pentagon and Bob Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration, to authorize a study of how you might end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, headed up by Jeh Johnson, who at that time was a council to the Justice Department,” Obama said. “And it was going to take a year to conduct that study, issue a report, and figure out how it might be implemented, what effect it would have on unit cohesion and military effectiveness.”
“And I had laid out this strategy because if I could get the Pentagon’s imprimatur on this thing, then I knew that we could end up getting legislation passed to reverse the policy, and we could get the branches of all the military to implement it,” he continued. “But during the course of that year, probably every speech I gave, I’d have gay activists just screaming at me during rallies. And you just say, ‘Come on, man. Not only do I agree with you, but I’ve actually got a strategy to execute, we are executing it, and in what sense do you think that you yelling at me here is going to advance your cause?'”
[dcquiz] Obama went on to say that the “problem was, and we saw some of this in the immigration-reform issues as well, was they hadn’t done sufficient homework to know that I didn’t have all the capacity they thought I did in order to just execute this through the stroke of a pen.” He added that criticisms from activists “are the times where sometimes you feel actually a little bit hurt.”
When then-Senator Obama ran for president in 2008, he went on record saying “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.
By 2012, however, Obama had flip-flopped on the issue, claiming in an interview with ABC News that he had “been going through an evolution” on the subject of gay marriage, adding later: “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that — for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that — I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
PolitiFact awarded Obama a “Full Flop” rating in 2012 for his newfound support of gay marriage.