Late last month, Bill O’Reilly suggested that President Barack Obama should “sign an executive order” ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and yesterday, during a segment about Judge Walker’s decision overturning Proposition 8, O’Reilly wondered why Obama has not come out in support of same-sex marriages:
O’REILLY: But why do you think he opposes it?
HOLDER: I don’t know. I mean, I wish we could get a reason from him…. I wish we could get a reason from him instead from Axelrod and his administration. Why do I think? I can’t speculate for the president. I don’t think anybody knows.
O’REILLY: Because I don’t know either. I mean, I got — I’ll sympathize with you. I don’t know why the president is against it either. I mean, you know.
O’Reilly’s concern is shared by many opponents of Proposition 8, who have expressed bewilderment over the administration’s response to the ruling. The administration attempted to portray the President both as a supporter of Judge Walker’s decision and an opponent of same-sex marriage.
“The President has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans,” the White House said Wednesday night after the ruling and tried to clarify its position the following day. “The president does oppose same-sex marriage, but he supports equality for gay and lesbian couples, and benefits and other issues, and that has been effectuated in federal agencies under his control,” Obama adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC. “The president opposed Proposition 8 at the time — he felt it was divisive and mean spirited,” he said, adding that Obama believes that governing marriage is “an issue for the states.”
Blogger Andy Towle described the response as “An odd statement from a President whose official position on marriage is not equality, and whose Justice Department continues to aggressively defend DOMA in the courts.” Similarly, John Aravosis remarked that Axelrod’s point suggests that “the President is for ‘separate but equal’ benefits for gay couples.” “Putting aside the obvious horror of that statement, we can’t get ‘equal’ benefits because of DOMA. That would be the law that the President routinely defends in court against our civl rights challenges, and the law about which the President has done nothing to get repealed, even though he promised to repeatedly during the campaign.”
During the 1996 race for the Illinois State Senate, however, Obama expressed support for marriage. “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” Obama said in an answer to a 1996 Outlines newspaper question on marriage. (H/T: Towleroad)