Today I am extremely happy to welcome Helen Thomas back to my obsession:
Helen, go ahead.
Q Why are we killing people in Iraq? There are many men, women and children being killed there. I mean, what is the reason we are there, killing people, continuing. It’s outrageous.
MR. McCLELLAN: The reason we are there is the same reason the international community is, is united in helping Iraq — the international community is united in helping Iraq move forward on a free and peaceful and democratic future. I think you can look to the recent commitments from the United Nations, from the European Union, from the recent meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh last week, there is a united front from the international community in working together to help the Iraqi people realize a free and peaceful future. There are terrorists and other Saddam loyalists who continue to seek to derail that transition to democracy, but they will —
Q They are fighting for their own country.
MR. McCLELLAN: — they will not prevail. And we are there to partner with the Iraqi people as they work to realize a better future, one that stands in stark contrast to the past of Saddam Hussein and his brutal regime.
Ah, Helen, like a breath of fresh air.
Now, back to Hating Queers! The preznit has a nuanced position. He wants to allow voters to decide with what level of intensity they would like to Hate Queers, rather than those activist judges in the Supreme Court, their own legislatures, or any future referendum:
Q The United States Supreme Court declined to take the appeal from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruling that allowed for same-sex couples to get married in Massachusetts. What’s the President’s reaction to that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that the President continues to emphasize the importance of moving forward on a constitutional amendment that would allow the people’s voice to be heard and not allow this issue to be decided by activist judges or local officials who seek to redefine what is a sacred institution. The American people strongly support protecting the sanctity of marriage. I think you can look to the recent elections in 11 states to see the kind of broad support there is for protecting the sacred institution.
And the President remains firmly committed to moving forward on a constitutional amendment that would allow the voice of the people to be heard and involve states in this process. And that’s different from allowing the activist judges to redefine this without the people’s voice being heard.
Q But the activist — the judges of the United States Supreme Court, the Justices just said this is something for the states, that we aren’t going to get involved in this. And 11 states are doing it. Why does the President want —
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think — I don’t think that they were looking at it from the federal law perspective, but looking at it from the state law perspective of the Massachusetts court. So we need to separate those out. You do have the Defense of Marriage Act in place, which the President strongly supported. There is some question of whether or not that will be upheld over time. And the President believes that this is an enduring institution in our society. That’s why he has fought to move forward on a constitutional process that would allow the states and the people in those states to be involved in this decision.
Q But I’m just wondering why the President thinks that federal judges are going to overturn, or “federalize” the Massachusetts decision to allow same-sex couples to get married. One of the arguments the President made was that a federal court might get involved. Isn’t this a strong signal from the highest federal court that this is a matter reserved to states?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t think I would necessarily look at it that way. Again, I think they were looking at it from the state law perspective, not the federal law perspective. It was not something brought under the Defense of Marriage Act.
Q And so the President’s position — just to get this right — is that if a state wants to decide through a majority vote that it will allow for same-sex marriages, the President wants to have the federal government smash that down and make sure that no state can decide that, right?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think that you’re talking about what activist judges are doing right now. The activist judges are seeking to redefine marriage for the rest of society, and the people’s voice is not being heard in this process. That’s why the President is committed to moving forward with Congress on a constitutional amendment that would protect the sanctity of marriage and allow the people’s voice to be heard in this important debate facing our society.
Q But it would only allow — it would give victory to the people who support that definition of marriage, wouldn’t it? Because if the state —
MR. McCLELLAN: There are 11 states that recently voted on this very issue, and they voted to ban same-sex marriages overwhelmingly in those states. And I think if you look at any number of indications, there is overwhelming support across the United States for protecting the sanctity of marriage.
Q Just to get this straight. The President does not want to allow the people of a state to decide to allow for gay marriage. In other words, he wants a federal constitutional amendment that would stop a majority in the state —
MR. McCLELLAN: He supports the constitutional amendment —
Q — from voting.
MR. McCLELLAN: — and the constitutional process would allow the state’s voice to be heard.
Hey, Scottie. You may not want to harp on this issue too much. There just might be a relationship from your past that you would not like to see drug into this debate.