(Photo: Reuters / Yuri Gripas)
Rumblings from his administration have some conservatives concerned that President Barack Obama may be planning to endorse same-sex marriage this week or next as a gesture honoring Gay Pride month.
The president has two big meetings with gay constituents coming up – a $1,250-a-plate "Gala with the Gay Community" in Manhattan this week and a Gay Pride reception at the White House on June 29.
Although he has already signed a proclamation this month, as Obama has done every year he has been in office, declaring June as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) month, many expect Obama to do something grand for the meetings.
An anonymous Democratic strategist close to the White House told The New York Times that preparation is underway in anticipation that Obama may possibly make a statement endorsing gay marriage. The move, if done, would be a complete reversal of his 2008 campaign statements that he opposed gay marriage.
The anonymous strategist told NYTimes some senior advisers "are looking at the tactics of how this might be done if the president chose to do it."
The suggestion that Obama might consider such a statement has drawn criticism from the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler.
"An open endorsement of same-sex marriage by an incumbent President of the United States would be a very significant and troubling development," Mohler wrote in a Monday blog post. "President Obama would not only repudiate his former position(s), he would push this nation toward the unraveling of civilization's most central institution – marriage."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a briefing that the president is not deferring from his 2008 statement. Obama had affirmed in 2008, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.”
Despite the White House's denials, Mohler believes that the White House is well down the road of endorsing same-sex marriage.
Last year, the Obama administration successfully pushed for the legislative repeal of “don't ask, don't tell,” the 1993 ban on open homosexuality in the military. In February, the Department of Justice, with authorization from the White House, discontinued its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act's constitutionality.
Last Monday, retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that he would sign certification that the military is prepared to end the ban on openly gay military service if top officers agree this month before he leaves June 30.
"I think people are pretty satisfied with the way this process is going forward," he said, referring to the military's training of more than a million U.S. troops.
Obama himself has indicated that he is moving away from his 2008 statements.
He told AMERICABlog last year, "But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.
"And I care about them deeply. And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about."
The NYTimes charged that even though Obama ran for the presidency as one opposed to same-sex marriage, "he may have been for same-sex marriage before he was against it."
The news source pointed to Obama’s response to a 1996 questionnaire from a gay newspaper as a candidate for the Illinois Senate. In the survey, he allegedly wrote, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer denied on Friday that Obama filled out that questionnaire at the progressive Netroots Nation conference. White House officials have also said Obama likely made those comments in support of civil unions, which he does support.
However, the unnamed Democratic strategist said that President Obama "is clearly a president who is interested in making big historical changes . . . I think this issue has moved into that context for him."
Southern Baptist Leader Mohler says the president's aspirations shows how politics have been corrupted by sin.
“Such a move would represent nothing less than a moral revolution,” he asserted. “Furthermore, the one who makes such a move would be nothing less than a moral revolutionary.”