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Week after week, month after month, reporters ask White House Press Secretary Jay Carney the same question: When will the president finally tell us what he really thinks about gay marriage?
The answer, still, is not yet.
The president opposed gay marriage during the 2008 campaign, but has said he is “evolving” on the issue, a word Carney clings to by rote. “I have no update on the president’s personal views,” he said Monday, suggesting that reporters could ask President Barack Obama the question at a future press conference if they wanted.
Carney ducked numerous questions Monday on the president’s lack of a clear position after Education Secretary Arne Duncan said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday that he supports gay marriage and Vice President Joseph Biden endorsed it in heartfelt, personal terms on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” on NBC.
“Why not just come out and say it and let voters decide?” asked ABC’s Jake Tapper. “It seems cynical to hide this until after the election.”
CBS’ Norah O’Donnell tried a different tack. “Why doesn’t President Obama support gay marriage?”
“I just don’t have an update for you,” Carney said.
He repeatedly shifted questions to Obama’s larger gay rights record, including ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy toward gays and lesbians serving openly. Plus, he noted, Obama opposes efforts to ban gay marriage or take away rights once they’ve been granted and believes that gay couples should have the same rights as other couples.
On a campaign call earlier Monday, strategist David Axelrod said Obama’s support for rights for gay couples contrasts with presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s support for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
But for now, at least, the president still doesn’t want to say the m-word.