"long as you keep 'em way off balance
how can they spot you got no talents..."
Oh, it's a moot point by now of course; still, I thought this particular tap-dance should be preserved for posterity. He's not very good at this, is he? Still, the overhanging brow adds a certain gravitas, it must be said.
"Snow Compares Gay Marriage Ban With 'Civil Rights Legislation'"
Q You mentioned civil rights. Are you comparing this to various civil
rights measures which have come to the Congress over the years?
MR. SNOW: Not -- well, these -- it --
Q Is this a civil right?
MR. SNOW: Marriage? It actually -- what we're really talking about here is
an attempt to try to maintain the traditional meaning of an institution
that has maintained one meeting for -- meaning for a period of centuries.
And furthermore --
Q And you would equate that with civil rights?
MR. SNOW: No, I'm just saying that I think -- well, I don't know. How do
you define civil rights?
Q It's not up to me. Up to you.
MR. SNOW: Okay. Well, no, it's your question. So I -- if I --
MR. SNOW: I need to get a more precise definition.
Q Can you stand there and say with a straight face that there is not a
political dimension to this?
MR. SNOW: Of course there's a political dimension to it. There's going to
be a Senate vote on it, for heaven sakes. You have -- there's naturally --
there are political dimensions on both sides.
It's -- this is an issue -- and we talked about this this morning -- that
I think is of keen interest to a lot of people. And one of the interesting
aspects is that there -- it's still -- the amendment still permits states
to consider arrangements and institutions for same-sex couples that would
not be called marriage. But the president feels strongly that marriage as
an institution has a fixed means that ought to be honored in American law.
...Q What has changed about the potential legal challenge since January of
last year that makes this riper?
MR. SNOW: Again, there -- you're going to have to ask --
Q (Off mike.)
MR. SNOW: You're going to have to ask the people who brought it up for a
vote in the Senate.
Q The Republican leadership works in concert with the White House, as you
MR. SNOW: Yeah, but I'm not aware that the White House had any particular
hand in scheduling this. But you know what? I'll check it out, because I
don't have the answer to --
...Q More than 8,000 same-sex couples have been married in Massachusetts.
What threat do they pose? And what's the president's --
MR. SNOW: They don't -- this is not in response to a threat. This is
merely a matter of trying to clarify what marriage ought to mean under the
law. As you know, the people of Massachusetts, also by referendum, defined
marriage as being between a man and a woman, and the Supreme Judicial
Court decided to throw it out. And it remains a matter of contention.
I don't think people look at this as a threat. It is trying to clarify
what is an important and contentious cultural and legal issue.
Q With this -- and let me just follow up.
MR. SNOW: Yeah.
Q With this to become a constitutional amendment, what legally then
happens to those 8,000-plus same-sex couples? Are their marriages
MR. SNOW: That would have to require keener legal expertise than mine. I
don't want to try to --
Q The president doesn't know what would happen?
MR. SNOW: No, the press secretary doesn't know. (Laughter.)
Q You mentioned the president was actually concerned about other issues
besides this one.
Q Tony, I just wanted -- on gay marriage again. You are almost portraying
the president as being a passive participant in this; that the Senate is
acting, so he's speaking out.
MR. SNOW: Right.
Q In the gaggle, you suggested the media is over-hyping this issue.
MR. SNOW: Yeah.
Q Conservatives, like Tony Perkins, are saying it was the president who
brought this up a lot during the 2004 campaign. Wasn't he hyping it then?
Why is the president being so passive?
MR. SNOW: I'm not going to characterize -- I don't think it's passive.
Again, the president has made clear what his views are. But, you know,
this is one where I -- I'm trying to figure out exactly how one decides
when one is active and one is passive.
Confidential to Mr. Snow: you look at which pocket the President's keys and/or hanky is in; and then you look at the Senate's pockets.