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12/22/2010

Freedom to Kerry: President talks marriage, wrestling with Advocate's Eleveld

by Jeremy Hooper

The ever intrepid Kerry Eleveld scored an interview with the Prez. Here's a snippet and link to the full:

KERRY ELEVELD: Well, no doubt I think a pivotal moment. And I know that so many people who voted for you, LGBT folks who voted for you, did so because they believe that you were a fierce supporter of equality. Given what you’ve just said, Mr. President, do you think it’s Elelveld-President-Obamatime that gays and lesbians should be entitled to full marriage rights?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I spoke about this recently with some bloggers who were here…

ELEVELD: Mr. Joe Sudbay.

PRESIDENT: Yes, and Joe asked me the same question. And since I've been making a lot of news over the last several weeks, I'm not going to make more news today. The sentiment I expressed then is still where I am—which is, like a lot of people, I'm wrestling with this. My attitudes are evolving on this. I have always firmly believed in having a robust civil union that provides the rights and benefits under the law that marriage does. I've wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.

And squaring that circle is something that I have not done yet, but I'm continually asking myself this question and I do think that—I will make this observation, that I notice there is a big generational difference. When you talk to people who are in their 20s, they don't understand what the holdup is on this, regardless of their own sexual orientation. And obviously when you talk to older folks, then there’s greater resistance.

And so this is an issue that I'm still wrestling with, others are still wrestling with. What I know is that at minimum, a baseline is that there has to be a strong, robust civil union available to all gay and lesbian couples.

ELEVELD: Can you imagine a time when you would get there? I mean, you say “evolving,” and that sort of assumes that you get somewhere. Can you imagine a time of getting there?

PRESIDENT: I'm going to stick with my answer. [Laughter.]

FULL INTERVIEW: Obama: "Prepared to Implement" [Advocate]

With all due respect, Mr. President: This form of wrestling from a constitutional scholar like yourself seems as fake and contrived as the WWE. We get the politics behind it. But here's hoping that in 2011, it's this intrinsically un-square-able separate/unequal stance that will go down for the count.

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