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Queer Talk: ‘Dumb’ Becomes ‘Dumber’ in the WH Scramble on Marriage Equality

Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.

The more the WH attempts to “explain” VP Biden’s comments regarding marriage equality, the “dumber” they look. “Dumb” was how John Aravosis described things yesterday. (See my earlier post here).

On Meet the Press, Biden said

I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights. All the civil rights, all the civil liberties.

The walk-back scramble began almost immediately, with efforts to convince everyone that Biden hadn’t said what he said, but is really right there with Obama, evolving.

For an indication of how bad things are, check out the transcript of Jake Tapper, and others, questioning WH spokesperson Jay Carney, via Pam’s Houseblend. It’s much too long to post the whole thing, but Tapper and others relentlessly pressed Carney about Obama’s, and Biden’s, views on marriage equality. This whole exchange serves as an example of “what goes wrong when you’re stuck repeating the same two or three talking points over and over and over.”

A very brief selection from the transcript, with Pam supplying the headline:

The #FAIL of Carney’s waffling and redirection and dodging is EPIC.

Q … This morning, the Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, put himself on record in favor of gay marriage. Yesterday, the Vice President indicated something along the same lines. Does this box the President in ahead of the election? Have his views changed at all on this subject?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I have no update on the President’s personal views. What the Vice President said yesterday was to make the same point that the President has made previously …

That’s followed by the now very familiar list of Obama’s accomplishments on behalf of the LGBT communities. The repetition of “personal view,” “no update,” and Biden’s saying the same thing Obama is saying, along with the list of accomplishments, basically provided Carey’s response to every question.

Q Jay, on June 23rd, he told an LGBT audience, ‘Everybody deserves to be able to live and love as they see fit. … ’ What is he referring to if not gay marriage? …
Q … how (is) Vice President Biden … saying that he is absolutely comfortable with men marrying men and women marrying women having equal rights, is not an endorsement of gay marriage?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I think the Vice President expressed his personal views. He also said he was evolving on the issue. I think the description —
Q When?
Q When did he say that?
Q He did not say that, Jay.
MR. CARNEY: He did.
Q No. His spokesperson said that afterwards.
MR. CARNEY: Let me just be clear, though. The Vice President – what he said about the protection of rights of citizens is completely consistent with the President’s position on this issue …
Q You’re trying to have it both ways before an election. …
MR. CARNEY: No. Look, this President has been extremely aggressive in supporting LGBT rights. …
Q Positing that the President has done more for LGBT individuals than any other President in history – so you don’t need to say that again – (laughter) – the question is —
MR. CARNEY: But I will.
Q … I think there are very few people who think that the President is not going to, after November, whether he’s reelected or not, come out in favor of same-sex marriage. … It seems cynical to hide this until after the election.
MR. CARNEY: Jake, I think the President’s position is well known. … I don’t have an update …
Q It’s not that I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear the same talking points 15 times in a row. …
Q … where would the President be then on the amendment in North Carolina that would ban gay marriage?
MR. CARNEY: The President, through the campaign – but the same person opposes efforts to deny the rights of citizens in any state where those rights have been established.
Q So he opposes – so help me out there. He opposes bans on gay marriage but he doesn’t yet support gay marriage? …

There is much more of the same. And there is speculation that Obama will come out for marriage equality after the election, and that Biden is positioning himself for 2016. Whatever. The point isn’t political games for same-gender couples who want to marry. It’s about equality.

For more information and other takes on what’s happening, here are some links:

John Aravosis, Marriage-gate continues; Joe Biden has evolved. Why not Obama?; White House Press Sec being grilled by reporters over Biden’s endorse of gay marriage; Signorile on Obama’s ‘gay panic’; Some top gay donors allegedly withholding donations to Obama SuperPAC, (this one about Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors).

Lisa Keen, Biden: Pressuring Obama, or paving the way.

There are multiple stories at Think Progress, including Media Coverage Of Biden’s Remarks Demonstrates That Marriage Equality Is A Mainstream Position.

Bilerico, Biden, Duncan Support for Marriage Equality Underscores Political Minefield.

Joe My God, Obama’s Balancing Act On Marriage.

This continues to get attention because Mr. Obama’s “trying to have it both ways” position on marriage equality appears so purely political. But who knows? Maybe he really is unsure about same-gender marriage. I kind of doubt it, but at some point, you have to wonder.

Just as important to remember: Mitt Romney signed a pledge to amend the U.S. Constitution to make “same-sex” marriage even more illegal than it already is.

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8 Responses to Queer Talk: ‘Dumb’ Becomes ‘Dumber’ in the WH Scramble on Marriage Equality

  1. Taylor Marsh May 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Carney should be eligible for combat pay after yesterday’s briefing! YOWZA! I was stunned watching it.

  2. guyski May 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    This is a perfect example of the lack of certainty that surrounds this administration on several issues. How do people respond/plan by a lack of certainty? Just take the assumption as is, don’t they need something more concrete? Being able to move ‘forward’, people need to know what’s going on,one way or the other.

  3. RAJensen May 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Want to lose an election? Stir up the passion of the Evangelical Christians, See 2004 Ohio when Bush narrowly beat Kerry thanks to a ballot initiative that defined marriage as one man and one women only and produced a massive turnout of white evangelical Christians.

    Ignore the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Hate Crime bill that made assaulting a gay person a hate crime. Keep whining about how Obama hasn’t move fast enough, the common complaint by leftisit ex-Democrats. Nothing ever moves fast enough for the ex-Demcrats extreme lefties.

    Joyce, you need to vote for Romney. I remember 1994 when he said he more pro-gay than Ted Kennedy.

    • fairmindedindependent May 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      RAJensen, do you ever call out the President when he is wrong? Every single issue, you seem to stick up for him, like he never does no wrong. When Democrats like former Governor Ed Randell, Ron Reagan, among along list of people calling out the President for his “envolving” issue when it comes to Gay Marriage. Its time for President Obama to lead his party and this country for equal rights. He is either for Gay Marriage or Not. I bet he does not have a problem asking for money from the LGBT community or votes and volunteers. Of Romney is worse on Gay Rights, but that does not mean that some people in the LGBT community among others won’t vote third party, I will be voting third party, I will vote for a candidate thats for equal marriage rights and does not play political games with peoples lives. The Evangelical vote is going to come out for Romney anyway. That was 2004, things have changed quite abit since 2004.

    • jinbaltimore May 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      awww Baby Bear’s back…with his “just right” politics.

      Hey, you know what RA Jensen?! Gay people don’t RENT the world from Obama or you. You aint our landlords so stop thinking you’ve the authority to tell us when we will have our rights, k? thanks

  4. fairmindedindependent May 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you again Joyce Arnold for a fantastic article, and keep holding them accountable !! :smile:

  5. whitepaw May 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Yes — Thanks Joyce! Great post… I am so beyond disgusted with this whole evolving thing on LGBT issues… Just one more reason that politicians are such turn-offs. I will not vote for Obama this election. My vote will not hurt him… I live in Oregon… for all those ready to attack me (stating Romney will be worse). I will not vote Romney either… someone else will get my vote.. or I will write in the name of someone I respect (perhaps my husband!).

    On a side note.. Carney is so much more likeable that Gibbs… The administration did well to select him for the job… I felt a bit sorry for him while watching the video.

    • fairmindedindependent May 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      whitepaw, I am not going to attack you for not voting for Obama or Romney. I think were a growing group whitepaw. I just hope for a third party candidate that believes in equal rights that does not flip-flop on every issue (Romney) or play political games with peoples lives (Obama). This evolving thing with Obama, has been the final straw on him not getting my vote.

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