Although he came out in support of same-sex marriage last week, President Obama on Monday declined to say whether he would work with congressional Democrats to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
DOMA defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and Democratic leaders in Congress are feeling emboldened to try to repeal it since Mr. Obama’s pronouncement last week that he supports gay marriage.
But the president wouldn’t commit to that legislative fight.
“Congress is clearly on notice that I think it’s a bad idea,” Mr. Obama said, according to excerpts of the interview provided by ABC News. “We don’t think the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional.
“This is something that historically had been determined at the state level and part of my believing ultimately that civil unions weren’t sufficient, and I’ve been a longtime supporter of civil unions for same-sex couples, was partly because of the issue of Social Security benefits and other laws.”
“This is going to be a big contrast in the campaign because you’ve got Gov. Romney saying we should actually have a constitutional amendment installing the notion that you can’t have same-sex marriages,” Mr. Obama said.
After leaving the show’s Manhattan studio, the president drew applause when he mentioned the possible repeal of DOMA at a fundraiser co-sponsored by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Leadership Council in New York.
“I want everyone treated fairly in this country,” he said. “We have never gone wrong when we’ve extended rights and responsibilities to everybody. That doesn’t weaken families, that strengthens families.”
The president also said the election between himself and Mitt Romney was more of a “clear contrast” than in 2008, when Mr. Obama faced Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who shared common ground with Mr. Obama on climate change and immigration.
“What we have this time is a candidate who said he would rubber-stamp a Republican Congress that wants us to go backward, not forward,” Mr. Obama said.
Tickets for the fundraiser started at $5,000, with about 200 people in attendance, including actress and Obama bundler Eva Longoria. Singer Ricky Martin co-hosted.
Mr. Martin, an openly gay pop star, introduced Mr. Obama to the crowd gathered at the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea and thanked him for his courage to stand up in support of same-sex marriage.
“That is the kind of courage we expect from our president and that is why we support him,” Mr. Martin said. “He knows we’re in this together and that together we’re stronger than divided. We elected the right president at the right time.”View Entire Story
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Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
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