(CNSNews.com) – First Lady Michelle Obama told Democratic Party donors at two New York City fundraisers Monday that the two Supreme Court justices her husband appointed would be important in cases involving “privacy,” and the right to “love whomever you choose.”
The "right to privacy," as espoused by the Suprmee Court in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, was used to establish abortion on demand in the United States.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed Tuesday that the first lady’s reference to “love whomever you choose,” was aimed at the administration’s decision not to defend the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act.
The DOMA law recognized marriage as between a man and woman for federal purposes and said no state could be forced to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.
President Barack Obama named Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as associate justices to the Supreme Court. Neither justice said during their confirmation hearing how they would rule on the controversial issue.
The first lady did seem to make a prediction when speaking at fundraising events in New York on Monday.
“And let’s not forget what it meant when my husband appointed those two brilliant Supreme Court justices, and for the first time in history, our daughters and our sons watched three women take their seats on our nation’s highest court,” the first lady said.
“But more importantly, let’s not forget the impact their decisions will have on our children’s lives for decades to come: on their privacy and security; on whether they can speak freely, worship openly, and love whomever they choose. But that is what’s at stake. That’s the choice that we’re--that’s what we’re working for,” said Mrs. Obama.
The same evening, during remarks at a separate fundraising event at Locanda Verde in New York, she delivered a similar speech.
“For the first time in history, our daughters and our sons watched three women take their seat on our nation’s highest court,” the first lady said to applause. “And let us not forget what their decisions – the impact those decisions will have on our lives for decades to come – on our privacy and security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly, and, yes, love whomever we choose. But that’s what’s at stake. That's the choice that we face.”
During the White House press briefing Tuesday, a reporter asked Carney, “And as for the First Lady, last night at two different events in New York City she made reference to the effect that Supreme Court appointees will have on ‘whether we can love whomever we choose.’ Is that a reference to marriage equality? And if not, to what is that a reference?”
Carney answered, “Thank you for the question. I think, as folks who regularly report on the first lady's speeches, they'll know that she has said this before and has for some time, and that is a reference to the president's position on the Defense of Marriage Act.
“The president and first lady firmly believe that gay and lesbian Americans and their families deserve legal protections and the ability to thrive, just like any family does. The first lady has said she is proud of his accomplishments, including repealing “don’t ask, don't tell,” ensuring hospital visitation rights, and calling for the repeal of DOMA. And obviously, our actions on DOMA and our decision not to defend DOMA is well known. That’s what she was referring to.”
The reporter followed, “So she does not believe that that is a -- she does not believe in marriage equality?”
Carney answered, "It was a reference to DOMA.