Home » 16 Times The Obama Administration Lied About The President’s Position On Same-Sex Marriage

16 Times The Obama Administration Lied About The President’s Position On Same-Sex Marriage

by Sam Stein & Amanda Terkel


WASHINGTON — It can now, apparently, be told: During his run for the presidency and his first years in the White House, President Barack Obama deceived the American public about his position on same-sex marriage.
The revelation, underwhelming as it may be to those who followed the debate closely, came in a passage from the president’s longtime aide and adviser David Axelrod in his new book, Believer: My Forty Years In Politics. Axelrod admits that Obama personally supported the legalization of marriage equality for same-sex couples but claimed he didn’t for political reasons.

Gay marriage was a particularly nagging issue. For as long as we had been working together, Obama had felt a tug between his personal views and the politics of gay marriage…. [H]e 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.” Having prided himself on forthrightness, though, Obama never felt comfortable with his compromise and, no doubt, compromised position. He routinely stumbled over the question when it came up in debates or interviews. “I’m just not very good at bullshitting,” he said with a sigh after one such awkward exchange.

It had long been assumed that Obama supported gay marriage and hid it for the sake of political expedience. After all, he had signed a questionnaire in 1996 while running for the state senate in Illinois saying he was a proponent. Would it really be possible that he regressed while the rest of the country evolved?
Of course not. And yet, there is something striking about Axelrod’s passage, if only because it puts an end to the lengthy series of misdirection, spin and even lies that the administration told for years to avoid revealing Obama’s true belief on the matter. Dating back to his Senate run in 2004, Obama and his aides repeatedly insisted that he wasn’t yet fully comfortable with marriage for gay couples as a right, even though he clearly was. As the New York Times’ Mike Barbaro put it:

Not so flattering to hear that first black president opposed gay marriage rights just to win, is it? http://t.co/6mKMvKun8O
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) February 10, 2015