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Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett declares being gay is a lifestyle choice (video), then apologizes

October 15, 2010 |  5:16 am

Democrat president Barack Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in a New York meeting For most of the 634 days Barack Obama has been president of these 57 United States, he and his voluble sidekick from Delaware have pleaded with the gay community to give them time, trust us, be patient, we understand, you'll be happy with us later, you know where we stand over the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Obama has often promised that valuable element of his political base that, by golly, as soon as possible he was going to get rid of that freedom-clogging subterfuge that keeps gays closeted during their military service for fear of being discharged.

But, you know, the military is still conducting another review. And the Democrat-controlled Senate declined to repeal the law.

It's just the kind of unrest that the Democrat does not need within his political base as he barnstorms the country (today Delaware, Saturday Boston, Sunday Ohio) to arouse demoralized Democrats for the already challenging midterm elections on Nov. 2.

Well, this week Obama was handed a golden opportunity to finally dump DADT for good when, as The Ticket reported here, California's District Judge Virginia Phillips threw the whole policy out as unconstitutional, totally banned it from that day henceforth, despite President Clinton having signed the legislation in 1993.

But then Thursday the Obama administration decided to appeal the judge's order. And, again, the president tried to explain how he was really opposed to "don't ask, don't tell," although his decision to appeal its ban made it seem that he was for it before he was against it.

In a televised townhall Obama said, ""I don't think (being gay) it's a choice. I think people are born with a certain makeup, and we're all children of God." And, once more, the president sought patience from the gay community.

However, GetEQUAL, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, called the appeal ....

..."yet another shocking lack of leadership from the White House on issues of equality for the LGBT community."

But then popped up a new problem for the Democratic administration -- and one that may well help explain the inexplicable delays in Obama changing federal policies. Valerie Jarrett, the president's senior adviser who seems at his elbow virtually everywhere, this week gave a videotaped interview (see below) to Jonathan Capehart, an editorial writer at the Washington Post.

In it, she described the pain of a gay man's family after his suicide: "They were aware that their son was gay. They embraced him. They loved him. They supported his lifestyle choice."

"Lifestyle choice"? Is that what they really think in the Obama White House after all this time? How could someone so close to Obama get his thinking so wrong in public on tape? Unless....

Capehart did not press her on that surprising, perhaps revealing slip.

But in his blog, well-known gay rights advocate Michael Petrelis quickly called Jarrett's lifestyle phrase "obnoxious" and excoriated both her and Capehart. "With friends like Jarrett and gay reporters such as Capehart," Petrelis said, "why worry about our enemies?"

To get back in line with her boss' public position, Jarrett issued an apology Thursday clarifying that what she said about sexual orientation wasn't what she believes about sexual orientation. "I meant no disrespect to the LGBT community, and I apologize to any who have taken offense at my poor choice of words," Jarrett said. "Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice."

The gay question of Jarrett begins about the 3:20 mark in the video below.

--Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Susan Walsh / Associated Press

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