Obama Sets Goal of Repealing DOMA

The Atlantic Wire
Obama Sets Goal of Repealing DOMA
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Obama Sets Goal of Repealing DOMA

He's long been officially ambivalent about the Defense of Marriage Act, but President Barack Obama made it clear in his remarks at a Ricky Martin-hosted fundraiser in New York Monday night that repealing DOMA is now a goal for him.

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The timing of that revelation is a bit out of sync with Obama's crowded New York schedule, though, because just a few hours earlier, while taping a segment of The View, the president reportedly wouldn't say explicitly whether he wanted to repeal DOMA. Now the remarks at the fundraiser are coming out before The View airs.

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The White House emailed the president's speech at the Martin fundraiser, including this notable paragraph:

It’s been said that this election is going to be about values, and I absolutely agree.  It’s about the economic values we have, about the values that I believe are what makes America so special -- the idea that everybody gets a fair shot, everybody does their fair share, everybody plays by the same set of rules.  So everything we do -- from Wall Street reform, making sure that banks aren’t taking risks with other people’s money that taxpayers may have to end up bailing out later, to repealing DOMA -- (applause) -- to getting the DREAM Act passed, to investing in our schools, to rebuilding manufacturing in America -- all of these things are designed to make sure that we’re restoring middle-class security for all those folks out there that are struggling for their small portion of the American Dream.

What he said on The View, which taped earlier Monday but will air Tuesday, was that "Congress is clearly on notice that I think it's a bad idea." But at least according to news reports from the taping, he "would not commit to fighting to have the Defense of Marriage Act." That's how CNN put it. UPI reported that "when pressed, Obama declined to say he would push for the repeal of DOMA, the Clinton-era law defining marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman."

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So while the president's stance on repealing DOMA seems to have evolved a bit over the course of the day, first hedging on saying he wanted to repeal it and then explicitly saying he wanted to do so, it's not unfolding in that sequence to the public. The bottom line: The president says he wants to repeal DOMA, but he's not ready to say how or when.

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