Despite a statement by President Obama’s White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer June 17 that a 1996 survey response was not written by the then-candidate for Illinois state Senate, Windy City Times newspaper stands by the reporting on Obama’s early support of gay marriage in at least two gay surveys.
The surveys were from a 1996 response to Outlines newspaper (which now owns Windy City Times) and IMPACT, a now-defunct gay political action committee. They are online at are available available at http://bit.ly/gMBR4e and also printed in the 2010 book Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage, by Tracy Baim, publisher of Windy City Times.
In January of 1996 he filled out the IMPACT questionnaire, and it appears to be in his own writing, and uses the first-person “I” throughout. While the IMPACT questions were a bit more complicated, Obama did say he would oppose any attempts to outlaw same-gender marriage, by supporting a resolution stating “the state should not interfere with same-gender couples who chose [sic] to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of civil marriage.”
Tracy Baim then, in the article, provides links and background to why the Windy City Times stands behind the reporting from 1996.
From the footer of Baim’s article:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tracy Baim is co-founder and publisher of Windy City Times, one of the oldest and most honored weekly gay newspapers in the U.S. Baim has been covering the gay community since 1984, including Chicago politics and Barack Obama’s first race for elected office. Baim interviewed Obama during his 2004 U.S. Senate run, and has covered a wide range of gay political issues for more than 27 years.
Wow. I feel like I’m watching a denial from the Obama Administration of Barack Obama’s 1996 position on marriage equality in the face of documentation that makes the denial appear to be a lie. It looks to me to be an attempt at a history rewrite.
During a Q&A this morning at the annual Netroots Nation liberal blog conference, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer claimed that Barack Obama never filled out a pair of 1996 questionnaires that show then-Illinois-legislature-candidate Obama supporting gay marriage.
It’s expanded upon in AmericaBlog Gay, in an article with the same name:
Those are some fighting words from the Obama administration, and they’re almost certainly an outright lie.
White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told the Netroots Nation blog conference this morning that the Barack Obama never filled out the 1996 questionnaire, when he was running for the Illinois legislature, in which he averred that he supports gay marriage. The questionnaire – two questionnaires in fact – have been out there for years – 15 years in fact – and it has caused the President, who now claims to oppose marriage equality for gay couples, a good amount of heartburn as reporters, such as the Blade’s Chris Johnson, keep asking the White House it.
This is the first time Obama has tried to question the questionnaires’ authenticity. Both are fakes?
Here’s Pfeiffer this morning:
“If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the President.”
AmericaBlog Gay then shows a copy the document that Barack Obama signed. (There’s more in the article at AmericaBlog Gay that’s worth the read too.)
I can’t imagine that this isn’t going to cause problems between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and the Obama Administration, and it will require someone more senior to White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer in an attempt to straighten this out.
Seriously, this looks to me like White House amateur hour at Netroots Nation. I’ll betcha the White House isn’t going to enjoy that huge can of worms that Pfeiffer just likely opened up with the LGBT community’s political donor base.