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White House spokesman defends Condi Rice calling gay man's mother his "mother in law"

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White House spokesman Tony Snow just said the following at today's White House press briefing:

REPORTER: At the swearing in of Mark Dybul as an AIDS ambassador, Secretary of State Rice referred to the mother of a gay partner as "mother in law," and my question, how does this adhere to the President's belief and policy that marriage is between one man and one woman?

WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN TONY SNOW: The secretary said what she said and she was showing due deference to the people involved.
Note that Snow didn't just say that Condi said what she said, and leave it that. Snow went one step further and decided to defend what Condi said. He said that Condi showed "due deference" by treating the gay couple as married. That's a value judgment that Snow is making. And the values he's supporting are the values of a gay married couple over the values of homophobe Jerry Falwell and the men at the Concerned Women for America.

While I'm certainly pleased that George Bush's White House stands behind a cabinet secretary recognizing the validity of a gay marriage, I can't see how the religious right bigots are going to find this a very comforting response, to say the least.

It's one thing for Condi Rice to recognize a gay marriage on television in front of Laura Bush (and it's difficult to believe that Mrs. Bush wasn't in on the whole thing), but it's quite another for the White House to then have the chance to "fix" things, and instead, choose to defend what could have been written off as "her personal opinion" or a "slip of the tongue."

I think the White House, and the Republicans at large, have decided that they need to make a choice in these final weeks before the election. Do they embrace the Terri Schiavo wing of the party or the Mary Cheney wing?

And the Marys just won.

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