The Presidential News Conference, And What I Didn't Ask

Posted by Chris Geidner
September 10, 2010 1:12 PM |


Although it was exciting to consider the possibility that I might ask President Obama a question at today's news conference in the East Room of the White House, it apparently was more important to allow Fox News to ask the president about the "Ground Zero mosque" and the would-be-Koran burner than it was to allow an LGBT media outlet (or anyone else, for that matter) to ask about last night's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ruling.

Had I the opportunity, though, here was my two-part question to the President (and don't fail to note that White House Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes promised an answer to the first question more than three months ago):

Thank you, Mr. President.

You have said repeatedly that you think "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act are discriminatory laws. Federal judges have agreed and gone further, striking down the laws -- in whole or in part -- as violations of First Amendment, equal protection or due process guarantees. Do you -- a constitutional scholar -- agree with those judges?

On a related note, though you said today that your administration isn't avoiding "controversial" issues, many supporters of marriage equality would and have pointed to your failure to embrace that equality as just such a lack of "leadership," as you put it. Where -- in the changed realities of September 2010 -- do you stand, personally, on same-sex marriage?

I have emailed the questions, altered into third-person language, to the White House press office for answers.

[UPDATE: Although not yet a reply to my questions, White House spokesman Shin Inouye did issue the following statement about the court's ruling:

The Justice Department is studying the decision, including the question of its scope and immediate effect and we expect them to announce their next steps after that review is completed.  The President remains committed to legislative repeal of DADT, and he will continue to work with lawmakers to achieve that goal this fall.  And he will continue to work closely with Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on an ongoing study of how to best implement the repeal.

I am still awaiting a response to my questions.]

[Photo by Chris Geidner.]


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