Barack Obama: I didn’t lie about opposing same-sex marriage
Barack Obama has denied claims that he mislead people into believing he opposed same-sex marriage.
However, Obama’s former strategist David Axelrod has claimed in his new memoir that the Democrat was always quietly in favour of equality, and had kept up a façade to appease religious voters.
Axelrod wrote : “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’.”
Obama reportedly told him, after an event where he stated that he was opposed to same-sex marriage: “I’m just not very good at bullshitting.”
However, the President smacked down his former campaigns chief in an interview with Buzzfeed.
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He said: “The notion that somehow I was always in favor of marriage per se isn’t quite accurate.
“I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue.
“I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there.”
“My thinking at the time was that civil unions — which I always supported — was a sufficient way of squaring the circle.
“Where my evolution took place was not in my attitude toward same-sex couples, it was in understanding the pain and the sense of stigma that was being placed on same-sex couples who are friends of mine, where they’d say ‘you know what, if you’re not calling it marriage, it doesn’t feel like the same thing’.
“It was because of those conversations that I ended up shifting positions, that civil unions, in fact, were not sufficient rather than marriage.
“I think the notion that somehow I was always in favour of marriage per se isn’t quite accurate.”
David Axelrod was hired by UK Labour leader Ed Miliband as an election strategist last year.