Media Still Giving Obama a Honeymoon on Marriage

Janet M. LaRue

11/26/2008 12:01:00 AM - Janet M. LaRue

President-elect Barack Obama told an MTV interviewer the day before the election that he believes “marriage is between a man and a woman,” and that he’s “not in favor of gay marriage.” Despite a host of blatantly incompatible statements, Obama’s besotted media seem incapable of scrutinizing his alleged support of traditional marriage.

Even many conservatives have given him a pass on this issue.

Obama has repeatedly stated his intent to repeal the entire federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which protects man-woman marriage. He’s called it “an abhorrent law.” Why aren’t media asking:

Obama referred to Prop. 8 as “playing around with the constitutions.” You’d think some media type would ask him why he approves of four judges on the California Supreme Court playing Etch-a-Sketch with the California constitution by writing in a “right” to same-sex “marriage.”

Andrew Sullivan wrote on his “Daily Dish” blog for The Atlantic on Nov. 11: “Obama has always opposed marriage equality, even splitting with his own church on the issue. In California, he got his way.” Sullivan doesn’t explain why he doesn’t believe Obama’s expressed opposition to Prop. 8, or whether he believes that Obama intends to repeal DOMA.

A Slate magazine column, “Props to Obama: Did he help push California's gay-marriage ban over the top?,” mentioned that “Obama opposed Proposition 8, but only guardedly—and he has always made plain his opposition to gay marriage.” The column’s author, Farhad Manjoo, doesn’t mention any Obama inconsistencies.

In a Telegrah.UK article, “Barack Obama: ‘marriage is between a man and a woman,’”

Catherine Elsworth reported Nov. 4 on Obama’s MTV interview. She mentioned that he “reaffirmed his opposition” to Prop. 8. Elsworth also noted that Obama “opposes the federal Defense of Marriage Act that prevents states from having to recognise same-sex marriages performed in other states and voted against a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.”

Elsworth didn’t question why, if Obama believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, he wants to repeal DOMA.

In a Nov. 8 Los Angeles Times article, “Gays, blacks divided on Proposition 8:

For many African Americans, it's not a civil rights issue,” reporters Cara Mia DiMassa and Jessica Garrison explained why both sides of the Prop 8 battle could claim Obama support, but didn’t question whether his positions are consistent:

One complicating factor was that both sides in the campaign had plausible reason to claim Obama’s support. The president-elect strongly stated his opposition to the proposition, calling it “divisive and discriminatory.”

But he has also said in public speeches that he opposes same-sex marriage. In the days leading up to the election, some Democrats received “robo-calls” on their cellphones containing an excerpt from such a speech.

"Here is Barack Obama in his own words on the definition of marriage," the call began.

Then the voice of Obama speaking to a crowd comes on: "I believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God is in the mix.”

A narrator then urged a yes vote on Proposition 8.

Radio host and author Glenn Greenwald described his “vital (if not complete) antidote” to the passage of Prop 8 on his Salon blog Nov. 6. Greenwald is relying on Obama’s promise to repeal DOMA:

Barack Obama has, on numerous occasions, emphatically expressed his support for repealing DOMA. When he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, he wrote a letter to Chicago's Windy City Times, calling DOMA “abhorrent” and its repeal “essential,” and vowing: “I opposed DOMA in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor.” But he went on to cite what he called the “the realities of modern politics” in order to proclaim (accurately) that DOMA's repeal at that time -- 2004 -- was “unlikely with Mr. Bush in the White House and Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress.” After Tuesday, that excuse is no longer availing. [Emphasis in original].

If any media personality should see spin in Obama’s statements, it’s Bill O’Reilly. So far, he’s repeating Obama’s “anti gay marriage” statement as fact.

On Nov. 13, O’Reilly stated emphatically on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor that president-elect “Barack Obama doesn’t want gay marriage.” O’Reilly said it twice. He also said, “Barack Obama is against gay marriage. He wants to keep marriage between a man and a woman.”

O’Reilly’s guest, Wayne Besen, is director of the homosexual advocacy group “Truth Wins Out,” which opposed Prop. 8 but supports Obama.  Besen reminded O’Reilly that “Barack Obama was outspoken against Proposition 8. He is a politician.”

O’Reilly then asked Besen, “You don’t think he is telling the truth when he says he opposed gay marriage? Besen dodged the question.

I wish O’Reilly would ask me.