Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson continued to press White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on President Obama’s 1996 support for same-sex marriage at today’s press briefing, leading Gibbs to again dodge the question by re-stating Obama’s now much more conservative position on the issue. At one point Gibbs even seems to accept Johnson’s premise that Obama has to “re-claim” his earlier progressive support for marriage equality:
GIBBS: I was not with the President in 1996…I would simply say that throughout the campaign of 2004 and the campaign of 2008, he’s made his position clear on that.
JOHNSON: Was there a political motivation for the President to drop his support for same-sex marriage as he sought higher office?
GIBBS: Again, I would refer you to my previous answer. [...]
JOHNSON: Will the President re-claim his support for same-sex marriage before the 2012 election?
GIBBS: I’m not in the business of predicting. I think you’ve seen this President be clearly committed to issues of equality and justice…I can speak to 2011 as a year in which a policy like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will end.
In 1996, while running for state senate, Obama told the newspaper Outlines that he supported same-sex marriage, saying “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages,and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” Since running for national office, Obama has devloved back to his current position of only supporting civil unions but has recently suggested that he may again “evolve” on the issue. Johnson asked Gibbs a similar question last week.