New York Times Washington reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg has fired two warning shots on consecutive days across Barack Obama’s left flank, regarding his hesitation to fully endorse gay marriage.
Wednesday’s “Obama’s Position on Gay Marriage Faces New Test” painted Obama in an “awkward” situation regarding his gay supporters. Stolberg twice shoe-horned in race-based arguments to challenge Obama’s position.
When President Obama’s guests arrive at the White House on Wednesday for a Gay Pride reception -- just days after New York became the largest state in the country to make same-sex marriage legal -- they will no doubt be in a mood to celebrate.
But for their host, who does not endorse same-sex marriage, it could be somewhat awkward.
“I think they are trying to share the joy, which is genuine on their part, without changing his position,” Hilary Rosen, a prominent Democratic strategist, said of the White House. “I don’t think he can have it both ways here.”
Stolberg flipped the race card:
Others took issue with Mr. Obama’s word choice at the Manhattan fund-raiser, where he noted that “traditionally marriage has been decided by the states.” His critics say that by invoking states’ rights, the president -- a former constitutional law professor and son of a black father and a white mother -- brought up arguments once used to justify laws that would have prevented his own parents from marrying.
Now, with a growing number of Republicans, including the handful in the New York Senate, supporting initiatives to legalize same-sex marriage, some Democrats are wondering why Mr. Obama does not do the same. Mr. Cuomo, too, has helped change the landscape, said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist who is gay. He predicts support for same-sex marriage will soon be “a litmus test” for Democratic candidates.
Stolberg used a “Gay Pride” event at the White House to continue the drumbeat in Thursday's "Obama Moves Near ‘Greater Equality’ on Gay Marriage.”
After months of saying his position on same-sex marriage is “evolving,” President Obama traded that language on Wednesday for comments that stopped just short of endorsing the notion that gay people have the right to marry.
But if his personal evolution is complete, Mr. Obama, who has previously opposed same-sex marriage, is not saying so.
Stolberg again forwarded touchy racial arguments. (Recall that liberals attacked Republican Rick Santorum in January 2011 for questioning how Barack Obama, as a black man, could support abortion.)
Mr. Obama has been under pressure from gay rights advocates to clarify his position in the wake of the vote in Albany and his own comments at a Manhattan fund-raiser last week, in which he suggested the marriage question should be left to the states.
The remarks infuriated some close allies, who said Mr. Obama, a former constitutional law professor and the child of an interracial marriage, was invoking arguments once used to defend segregation. On Wednesday, reaction to the news conference was mixed.