Below is the official White House Press Pool Report from President Obama’s Pride reception at the White House.
In it you will see that Dan Savage thinks supporting gay marriage is being “out on the furthest limb” for Obama so he isn’t furious with him for his position. Savage also predicts that Obama won’t ”evolve” on gay marriage until February, 2013 – after the next presidential election. You will also see that union spokesman Gregory King thinks gays aren’t prioritizing marriage so Obama doesn’t need to either. With supporters like these it’s no wonder Obama doesn’t feel pressure from the gay community.
From: Julie Mason
To: Finkenbinder, Benjamin N.
Cc: Hughes, Caroline E.
Sent: Wed Jun 29 18:43:29 2011
Subject: Pool Report #1 pride reception
No, he didn’t endorse gay marriage.
The East Room contained: a few hundred attendees, a full bar, a couple of small, round tables covered in shimmery purple cloth piled high with canapes and desserts: puff pastries, baby lamb chops, mini cupcakes, slices of cake and more. The centerpieces were oversized bouquets of roses in pink, orange, red and purple. A band played light jazz and R&B.
The crowd was mostly white and the men significantly outnumbered the women. Dan Savage was there — quotes from him after Obama.
Obama entered the room at 6 p.m. to huge cheers. Facing north, he assured the crowd that “Nothing ruins a party like a long speech from a politician” and promised to go short. He talked about his accomplishments so far — hospital visits, DADT, DOMA, etc.
He said he understands the frustration many in the gay community feel about the pace of accomplishments — “I know I can count on you to let me know,” he said. “This is not a shy group.”
The crowd interrupted him a few times with spontaneous cheers and applause — when he mentioned “spouses” (without endorsing the concept) and more. Check the transcript. He spoke for about nine minutes.
Dan Savage, a columnist, author and gay activist was there with his husband (they married in Canada), Terry Miller. Dan was wearing a black and white plaid shirt with a small button that said, “evolve already.” Terry wore a white shirt with a hot pink bow tie.
“I believe the president should evolve,” Savage said. “He says he’s evolving, I believe him.” He added, “I want to hurry him along.”
Savage, a strong proponent for gay marriage, said his presence at the White House should not be construed as a surrender on the issue. “We can scream and yell and be dicks and wear buttons” and still eat Obama’s cupcakes and drink his champagne, Savage said.
He predicted Obama’s evolution on gay marriage would be complete in February, 2013. Savage called Obama’s politics “the art of the possible.”
“We need to keep the pressure on and take ‘yes’ for an answer,” Savage said.
“I’m not one of the gay activists furious at the president because he’s not out on the furthest limb” on gay marriage, Savage said.
Also in the room and willing to make eye contact with the pool: Gregory King, a spokesman for AFSCME and a former spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign Fund.
King said, “I think Obama has done more for the LGBT community than any president in history.”
“He’s been effective at bringing change and ending discrimination,” King said.
Regarding gay marriage, “I know many couples who wouldn’t place that at the top of the agenda,” King said.