- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In his new book, former Obama political strategist David Axelrod writes that the president favored same-sex marriage during the first presidential campaign but said publicly that he supported civil unions and purportedly had been “evolving” on the issue while in office.

“Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,’” Mr. Axelrod writes in an excerpt of “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics,” obtained by Time magazine.

Mr. Obama was famously described as “evolving” on the issue as president before publicly coming out in favor of same-sex marriage in 2012, when the polling was more favorable and, reportedly, under threat from key gay donors to Democratic causes.

Asked about the passage Tuesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he hadn’t read the whole book but that the firsthand account Mr. Axelrod provides in the context of the book “is not one that I would disagree with or quibble with.”

“As it relates to the president’s views on gay marriage, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the president’s evolution on these issues,” Mr. Earnest said. “I think it’s consistent with the kind of evolution that people all across the country have gone, as it relates to their views on this topic. And, you know, frankly, I don’t think I have a whole lot more to contribute to them.”

Mr. Earnest pointed to Mr. Obama’s record on gay rights and said it “speaks to this even better than I possibly could.”

Others weren’t buying it. They called Mr. Obama’s “evolution” (and therefore, implicitly, his earlier stance too) mere pandering and shifting with the political winds.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, said Tuesday that he wouldn’t be a politician who would evolve on the issue in a similar way.

“There are a lot of politicians that have so called ‘evolved’ on this issue — remember when President Obama first ran for office, he was for traditional marriage,” Mr. Jindal said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Saw the polls change; he changed his position. I’m not one of those politicians.

“My faith teaches me that marriage is between a man and a woman. I don’t believe in discrimination against anybody. I’m not for changing the definition of marriage, and that’s why I hope the Supreme Court decides not to overturn what the states have decided,” Mr. Jindal, who is weighing a presidential bid, said in a video posted by Real Clear Politics.

“In Louisiana, it’s in our state constitution. My hope is the Supreme Court will respect what state legislators and states have already decided.”

The Supreme Court has declined to intervene in a federal ruling overturning Alabama’s definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, even as the state’s chief justice has ordered state judges to defy the ruling.


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