Tonight the White House will once again host an LGBT Pride reception. The event will mark the Obama Administration's third annual LGBT celebration.
The guest list of the first and historic 2009 event was mostly comprised of national LGBT leaders. Guests at the 2010 reception were mostly state equality groups and youth LGBT leaders, including some students from historically Black colleges and universities.
Tonight's reception will be attended by dozens of guests enthused by the marriage victory in New York "but [their] host does not endorse same-sex marriage [and] it could be somewhat awkward," reports Sheryl Gay Stolberg at the New York Times.
"I think they are trying to share the joy, which is genuine on their part, without changing his position," Hilary Rosen, a prominent Democratic strategist, said of the White House. "I don’t think he can have it both ways here."
For months, Mr. Obama, who has in the past opposed same-sex marriage, has said his views are "evolving." But last week’s vote in Albany has intensified pressure on the president to say where he stands, particularly after remarks he made at a Manhattan fund-raiser disappointed and confused many gay rights advocates, including some of his most ardent supporters. Some are now comparing Mr. Obama unfavorably with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat who championed the New York bill and helped get it passed in a Republican-controlled Senate.
"That was the argument they made about segregation," Ms. Rosen, who has long been supportive of Mr. Obama, said Tuesday. "I don’t think people really believe that he believes that. It flies in the face of everything he has stood for." [...]
Yet in the context of the New York debate, Mr. Obama’s comments infuriated some prominent advocates and potential donors. They include Chad Griffin, who sits on the finance committee for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign and recently co-hosted a fund-raiser featuring Michelle Obama that raised more than $1 million, and Paul Yandura, a Democratic strategist who advises gay philanthropists, including some Obama donors. “That language is really a dog whistle for the right,” Mr. Yandura said.
The marriage issue dovetails into the 2012 election and strategy on battleground states, reports ABC News ...
Obama's reluctance to embrace gay marriage, putting him among a minority of Americans in national polls, appears part of a broader effort to avoid alienating voters in battleground states, like Ohio and Nevada, where majorities have traditionally shown less support for the unions than voters overall. States such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia, all won by Obama in 2008 and expected to be close contests in 2012, have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage that couldn't be overcome by a president's leadership alone.
New Hampshire legislators are expected to vote early next year on whether to repeal the state's same-sex marriage law, while in Minnesota, another battleground, a constitutional amendment banning the unions will appear on the ballot in 2012. ... Bottom line, some gay rights advocates speculate, Obama likely believes he has more to lose than gain in coming out in favor of same-sex marriage.
But not everyone invited to tonight's event will be focused on the President's position on marriage. Darryl Moore, a Black councilmember in Berkeley and chair of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), will attend the reception with his partner of 16 years, reports Berkeleyside. "I’m excited about the opportunity to celebrate LGBT Pride Month with a president that has made so much progress in the fight toward LGBT equality," said Moore.