Obama’s Confusing Federalism: Gay Marriage, Yes; Medical Marijuana, No

We’re going to need a scorecard to try to figure out when President Barack Obama believes in states' rights.

Despite raising gay marriage recognition as an equality issue in yesterday’s inaugural address, today the White House clarified that Obama believes the matter properly belongs to the states. Via the Washington Blade:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney maintained on Tuesday that President Obama’s LGBT remarks in his inaugural speech weren’t an attempt to nationalize the issue of marriage.

“The President believes that it’s an issue that should be addressed by the states,” Carney said in response to a question from Politico’s Reid Epstein. …

Carney indicated that Obama’s believes Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional based on the belief that the federal government shouldn’t be involved in marriage.

“One the reasons why we believe that Section 3 of DOMA is not constitutional is because we should not addressing it in that way,” Carney said.

The federal government is involved in marriage and will continue to be involved in marriage regardless of the existence of DOMA, so … huh? If DOMA is done away with, the federal government will have to recognize legal same-sex marriages in a whole host of government policies. Reporter Chris Johnson’s transcript of Carney’s comments at the end, though, doesn’t actually say that Obama believes the government “shouldn’t be involved in marriage” at all, so it may just be an awkward paraphrase on Johnson’s part and not a sudden libertarian embrace by the administration.

In any event, the White House declaring that gay marriage is a state issue comes at odds with the way the Department of Justice is handling medical marijuana. As Mike Riggs noted earlier today, the Drug Enforcement Agency won a court fight to keep marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, which classifies it as highly addictive with no medical benefits. Thus, the DEA has cover to bust down the doors of medical marijuana dispensaries operating legally under state law, arrest and imprison people.

Why is gay marriage a state issue but medical marijuana is not?

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  • tarran||

    Here's the thing:

    Obama doesn't give a shit about freedom... This is a grudging move because the incentive to stop hammering the LBGTQC community over violating cultural norms outweighs the incentives to keep hammering them.

    And this is how the move to freedom will occur. Libertarians aren't going to win political office, nor is a revolt going to sweep people who ideologically like freedom into power. What will happen is that in fits and start and bit by bit, the state will relinquish some power because the alternative is worse.

    That and, of course, the inevitable collapse of the U.S. government when its financial insolvency cannot be repaired by the printing of money.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What is the "C" in "LBGTQC"?

  • ||

    I assume it's cisgendered.

  • tarran||

    I thought of throwing in some extra letters for fun, but decided I've been enough of a shmuck for the day. :)

  • SusanM||

    Actually it shouldn't be there since "cisgendered" means self-perception and physicality are matched.

  • SugarFree||

    LGBTQQIAAP

    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Allies and Pansexual.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I assume that's an actual acronym you've encountered at work and not something you just made up.

  • SugarFree||

    Of course it's real. It's not like I just make things up.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    I can't find it right now, but the Onion once reported on an fictitious gay rights group called something like GALABATATAQ - gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgendered and transsexual and questioning, or somesuch.

  • ||

    I didn't actually know the answer Susan. I just picked the first identity politics c word I could think of.

  • SusanM||

    Thought I'd chuck that in there anyway

  • Mickey Rat||

    In other words, "cisgendered" is a bizarre, made-up word for "not fucked in the head".

  • wingnutx||

    If they throw 'cisgendered' in there on top of the others, then it basically includes everyone.

  • Specail Sauce||

    Compton

  • Tman||

    Why is gay marriage a state issue but medical marijuana is not?

    Because Obama doesn't care about Marijuana rights voters. He does care about Gay rights voters, thus he has had a "change of heart" in terms of gay marriage.

    Oh sorry, this was a rhetorical question, right?

  • ||

    AND, commerce clause and stuff.

  • T o n y||

    I'm not sure it's gay voters so much as gay donors, plus the fact that he most likely actually believes what he says (in contrast to what he used to say).

    It's a mystery to me why he doesn't emphasize criminal justice and drug war reform more, but if I had to guess I'd say it's a matter of the issue being China and Obama not being Nixon.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    plus the fact that he most likely actually believes what he says (in contrast to what he used to say)

    Poor Tony,

    He still hasn't figured out that the most homophobic culture in America is that of straight Black men.

    Obama just isn't into you, girlfriend.

  • T o n y||

    No I'm pretty sure the most homophobic culture in America is closeted southern preachers. Social conservatism is the enemy here, not blackness. And Obama is not a social conservative.

  • tarran||

    According to my work wife from a previous job (A black lesbian ex army sergeant scarred from and IED explosion and with a masters degree in theology from Harvard Divinity School - yes really!) her extended family from Oakland CA and their social circle are far more homophobic than any of the places she was stationed in the army.

    I'm glad I wasn't in the room when one of her uncles forcefully argued to her that unlike being black, homosexuality is a life-style choice. Apparently it was epic.

  • T o n y||

    So what about being black by itself makes one more homophobic?

    Or isn't homophobia simply an expression of social conservatism?

  • tarran||

    It's quite clearly tied up with culture.

  • ThomasD||

    Strange question considering that he never quoted her saying any such thing, nor did he say it himself.

    But otherwise, are you still screwing your house pet?

  • Liberty||

    I'm a white atheist and I think sodomy is disgusting and unnatural.

  • BlogimiDei||

    The don't partake in sodomy

  • BlogimiDei||

    So sorry...

    The = Then

  • SugarFree||

    He's probably one of those hideous straight guys who's convinced that every gay guy wants to fuck him. (A dream is just a wish your heart makes.)

  • ||

    I want to partake in gomorrahy.

  • BuSab Agent||

    I think gomorrahy had something to do with placenta sculpting.

  • Tman||

    You think Obama represents straight black men?

    I mean, he does pander to them at NAACP style rallies, but what exactly has Obama delivered to straight black men in four years other than increased unemployment and rapidly deteriorating inner cities?

    Look at Chicago for chrissakes, black people would be safer living in Afghanistan.

    Obama doesn't give a shit about anyone but himself.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You think Obama represents straight black men?

    No, but that doesn't mean he isn't one.

  • Tman||

    No, but that doesn't mean he isn't one.

    I'm aware of that, yes, thank you.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ha ha.

    What I mean is that you can be part of a group, you can even share the mentality of much of that group, but still act against that group's interests.

  • Tman||

    you can be part of a group, you can even share the mentality of much of that group, but still act against that group's interests.

    It's amazing that straight (or gay for that matter) black men still think he cares about them, or acts in their interests, despite his heritage and ancestry.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...what exactly has Obama delivered to straight black men in four years other than increased unemployment and rapidly deteriorating inner cities?

    As far as I can tell, for some reason, that is successful pandering.

  • Liberty||

    In Tonyland "criminal justice" == finishing the criminal's crimes for them.

  • T o n y||

    My number one domestic policy concern is criminal justice (i.e., prison and drug) reform.

  • Liberty||

    Then why the hell did you vote for Obozo? You could have at least voted for that green party chick?

  • thom||

    If the bulk of the security apparatus was ostensibly set up to fight homos, then Obama would be anti-gay-marriage.

    The marijuanna thing is about power. When people/municipalities/states openly defy Obama's demands about pot, they are saying that despite the vast, militarized "law enforcement" culture that says otherwise, they will do what they want.

    When you refuse to be threatened by the troops of a President, King, dictator, etc, you are effectively saying that you are not threatened by him. That is a direct threat to his power.

    Which is why President after President keeps tolerating and advocating kicking in doors, shooting the dogs, and throwing poor people in jail.

  • ||

    the marijuana thing is also about pharma.

  • ThomasD||

    If marijuana possession and/or sale laws can be neutralized by the States then plenty of other bits of Federal overreach can be similarly done away with.

    Like the Gun Control Act of 1968, and much of what has followed.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Again:

    The only times leftists are "pro-choice" involve abortion and gay marriage.

    Want to keep more than fifty percent of your income?

    Fuck you, you greedy racist capitalist prick.

    Don't want this to happen? http://news.cnet.com/8301-1357.....-warrants/

    Fuck you, you right-wing militia member. Big Sis needs to read every e-mail you write.

    Don't want to lose your house to forfeiture if the Feds find someone else's pot plants along your fence row?

    Too fucking bad. You should do regular sweeps of "your" property to make sure no one is breaking The Law without your knowledge.

    Want to be free to practice your religion?

    If you're not a Muslim, you're a member of the Westboro thug gang, and even if you're not, you're still a Christian gun-licking reactionary.

    BTW, all of the above should prevent Tony or shrike from having to bother to post here.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    BTW, all of the above should prevent Tony or shrike from having to bother to post here

    You have failed in your charge.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I see that. Why he can't die in a fire in shrike's mom's basement, is a puzzle for the ages.

  • T o n y||

    They should both be national issues. Marriage equality nationwide and cannabis treated as a relatively harmless medicine/recreational drug nationwide.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So, are you still against state-level governance, Tony? Sure sounds like it.

  • T o n y||

    I don't see any inherent virtue in state governments over the national government, except with respect to state-level issues. Neither civil equality nor drug laws are state-level concerns, though I'd be willing to let the latter go to the states if the feds let up.

    Ideally the right policy would be implemented in as widespread a manner as possible. Laboratories of democracy are fine and all, but occasionally don't experiments have results?

  • Specail Sauce||

    Yes, because one size fits all Federal laws will solve all of our problems!

  • T o n y||

    One size fits all is the entire point if we're talking about equality under the law.

    I think in general governments should have the authority to address the concerns within its jurisdiction. Some things only make sense to be dealt with at the state or local level. Many more than libertarians admit to are national or even global concerns.

  • Specail Sauce||

    No Tony, what you continue to peddle is equality of outcomes under the basterdization of law. The law is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. There is nothing "equal" in the violation of individual rights, especially at the Federal level.

  • T o n y||

    Good thing I'm arguing for increased individual liberty at the federal level.

  • ThomasD||

    Increased liberty at the Federal level would mean more power devolving to the State, and local level.

    One size fits all is not liberty.

  • CosmoBro||

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  • ||

    They shouldn't be "issues" at all.

  • ||

    Why is gay marriage a state issue but medical marijuana is not?

    You're just fucking with us now, right, Scott?

  • Scott S.||

    I'm trolling for comments because my morning post got buried under Nick's excellent observations on the same issues.

  • ||

    Totally understandable.

  • ||

    Gay libertarians are the best libertarians.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Coward:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....r=homepage

    Fuck Mickelson. He should have stood by his comments, not walked them back.

    Wonder if he's afraid of a "totally random" IRS audit?

  • Liberty||

    I could ask the same question of cosmos who want nationalized marriage and "states rights'" so they can smoke their precious pot.

  • SugarFree||

    "Cosmos"? Did you just make that up? It's HILARIOUS!

  • Brandon||

    Fuck off, Mary.

  • deified||

    President Choom used to ♥ the Ganja. Then he changed his mind. So Americans must suffer under the tyranny of his whims.

  • db||

  • CosmoBro||

    Barry's previous religious commitment has clearly clouded his ability to give an appropriate amount of fucks about the LGBT community. If he were truly the secular humanist liberal his flock has made him out to be, he would have acted on his words a long fucking time ago. Fuck theism.

  • waaminn||

    Dude knows he is talking a LOT of smack!

    www.PrivoWeb.tk

  • Marijuana Grower||

    Until we live in a world where everything is free and nobody needs money, it’s smart to figure out how to get top dollar for your marijuana…

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