Today, Rolling Stone published its cover interview with President Obama. In it, Jann Wenner asked Obama about marriage equality.
Wenner: You've shied away from demanding marriage equality for all. Are you at least willing to say that you support it on a personal level?
Obama: I'm not going to make news in this publication. I've made clear that the issue of fairness and justice and equality for the LGBT community is very important to me. And I haven't just talked about it, I've acted on it. You'll recall that the last time you and I had an interview, we were getting beat up about "don't ask, don't tell" in the LGBT community. There was skepticism: "Why's it taking so long? Why doesn't he just do it through executive order?" I described very specifically the process we were going to go through to make sure that there was a buy-in from the military, up and down the chain of command, so that it would be executed in an effective way. And lo and behold, here we are, and it got done.
Ending "don't ask, don't tell" has been the dog that didn't bark. You haven't read a single story about problems in our military as a consequence of the ending of the policy. So whether it's on that, or changing the AIDS travel ban, or hospital visitation rights, or a whole slew of regulations that have made sure that federal workers are treated fairly in the workplace, we've shown the commitment that I have to these issues. And we're going to keep on working in very practical ways to make sure that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are treated as what they are -- full-fledged members of the American family.
The comments, which the interview details were made by Obama on Monday, April 9, came two days before his administration announced that Obama would not be pursuing an executive order to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The decision prompted an editorial from the editorial board of The Washington Post, criticizing the decision by stating that "there is no principled reason for refusing to extend such workplace protections to millions of Americans."
It was just this past Friday, April 20, Obama -- through the Twitter account run by his re-election campaign -- tweeted, "What three years of progress for the LGBT community looks like," with a link to a rainbow road of claimed accomplishments of the administration for the LGBT community.
One of those claimed accomplishments was about North Carolina: "March 16: Came out against North Carolina's Amendment 1, which would prohibit same-sex marriage in the state." The claim comes because the Obama for America North Carolina spokesman, Cameron French, stated on that date the Obama opposed the measure because "it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples."
Four days after claiming the opposition as a talking point for the administration's accomplishments on LGBT issues, however, Obama said nothing about Amendment 1 when he himself was actually in the state.
As with the executive order decision, the decision not to mention the amendment did not go without notice. From The New York Times's Andrew Rosenthal:
The president loves North Carolina. The state and the University.
For all that, minus the name checks, he could have delivered the speech anywhere. It was noticeably lacking in references to the political situation in the real North Carolina, ... where residents will be voting in two weeks on one of the most depressing ballot initiatives of the year.
The proposal, called Amendment One, would ban not only same-sex marriages, but also civil unions. It's causing a huge commotion in North Carolina.
Mr. Obama never mentioned it. ...
His silence on Amendment One this afternoon, and on gay marriage throughout his presidency, may keep his campaign managers happy, but hardly reflects the "yes we can" attitude that got him elected.
As the president goes into election mode, one message is emerging that the Obama campaign is doubtless noting already: LGBT advocates and allies do not appear poised to allow him and his campaign to make supportive statements in one forum while avoiding related decisions or topics in other fora without calling him out on the inconsistency.