WASHINGTON, DC – White House officials are clarifying remarks made last week by Michelle Obama during a New York City fundraiser, explaining that the First Lady was not trying to imply that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees support same-sex marriage, and that she was not endorsing marriage equality on her own behalf or that of the president.
“For the first time in history, our daughters and our sons watched three women take their seat on our nation’s highest court. And let us not forget what their decisions–the impact those decisions will have on our lives for decades to come–on our privacy and security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly, and, yes, love whomever we choose. But that’s what’s at stake. That’s the choice that we face,” Obama said on March 19.
“That is a reference to the president’s position on the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA],” White House press secretary Jay Carney said afterwards, referring to the 1996 law that federally defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
In 2011, the Obama administration announced that part of DOMA was unconstitutional and ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the law in court.
There were those on the political left who were hoping that the First Lady was making reference to marriage equality as well as signaling a White House plan to appoint Supreme Court justices who support gay marriages.