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Hullabaloo


Sunday, July 13, 2014

 
Evolution

by digby

The president does have a good sense of humor, you have to give him that:


Daniel Rugg Webb, a 32-year-old cashier at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, had been hearing the rumor all day on Thursday: President Obama was stopping by. He and his co-workers didn’t give much credence to the idea—that is, until eight secret service agents, and then some, walked into the restaurant in the afternoon.

“[They] frisked everybody, which was kind of my favorite part,” Webb recalled in an interview with BuzzFeed Saturday night. “Then he just showed up.”

Webb, who is also a comedian and retired musician, wasn’t about to miss his opportunity to say whatever he wanted to a sitting president. So, after he had introduced himself and the president was signing a reportedly $300 bill, he slammed his hand on the counter.

“Equal rights for gay people!” he exclaimed.

Obama reacted without missing a beat. “Are you gay?”

Taken aback by the directness of the question, he said, Webb responded, “Only when I’m having sex!”

The president laughed, then, realizing there was a group of children near the two, said, “Not in front of the kids!”

I'm not sure it's entirely appropriate to ask if a person is gay, but for all I know, it is these days.

The reporter interviewed Daniel Webb and he had a specific request for the president:
While Webb said he appreciates Obama’s social progressiveness, he expressed hope that the president will close the gap between his own relative forward-thinking on gay rights, and his general quietness on the anti-gay views of many state leaders before he leaves office.

“It would be interesting if he could call some people out for it. People can use a lot of things—religion, freedom of speech—to be anti-gay, but I need people to understand you can call people out for civil rights things,” Webb said.
“We are an anti-gay state. We are a state with a whole bunch of hungry children and sick old people, and [Rick Perry is] grandstanding on things that will get him a better election,” Webb said. “And it’s glaringly obvious. He’s kind of primitive in his social beliefs. I would like to see Rick Perry negatively influenced by any kind of attention. Even Obama laughing at something as, hopefully, acceptable as sexuality can show the difference.”
Yeah, I wouldn't hold my breath on that. The president has made himself pretty clear:
What you're seeing is, I think, states working through this issue-- in fits and starts, all across the country. Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what's recognized as a marriage.
[...]
Well, I-- you know, my Justice Department has already-- said that it is not gonna defend-- the Defense Against Marriage Act. That we consider that a violation of equal protection clause. And I agree with them on that. You know? I helped to prompt that-- that move on the part of the Justice Department.

Part of the reason that I thought it was important-- to speak to this issue was the fact that-- you know, I've got an opponent on-- on the other side in the upcoming presidential election, who wants to-- re-federalize the issue and-- institute a constitutional amendment-- that would prohibit gay marriage. And, you know, I think it is a mistake to-- try to make what has traditionally been a state issue into a national issue.
But maybe he's evolving, who knows?

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