By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
Two things surprised me in my interview with Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese:
- He's befriended the evangelical minister who led California's clergy in promoting Proposition 8, the state's recently adopted gay marriage ban.
- Solmonese has doubts about the president's stated opposition to same-sex marriage.
Here's our exchange on Obama's gay marriage position:
You've gotten to know the president personally. Have you talked to him about his opposition to gay marriage?
I've had the chance to visit with the president personally both during the campaign and since he's been in the White House. I don't really know what's at the heart of his opposition. It's hard for me to believe that in his heart he's truly opposed to same-sex marriage. Maybe it's something he's working to get his head around. When you look at who he is and what his life experiences are and who he surrounds himself by and the transformative political figure he is, it's hard to imagine he genuinely opposes it.
Solmonese isn't the first to doubt the president's opposition to gay marriage, though those who do are usually on the right, alleging that Obama just wants to avoid inflaming cultural conservatives. As a state senate candidate in Illinois, he supported gay marriage. But here's what Obama told the Chicago Tribune in March 2007:
I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.