When he ran for President, then candidate Barack Obama said that he opposed gay marriage. Earlier this year, President Obama said that his views on gay marriage were “evolving.” George Stephanopoulos pressed him on the issue again yesterday, and the president once again would not endorse gay marriage (see above). He did however reiterate his opposition to DOMA, his support for gays in the military, and his belief that gay couples should have all the same benefits as married couples. If that sounds schizophrenic to you, it’s because it is. That is why the headline in New York Magazine is right on the money: “President Obama Won’t Say If He’ll Stop Pretending to Oppose Gay Marriage Before the Election.”
At this point, the President’s statements on this issue have gone past the point of absurd. In his policies and public statements, everything he says and does would seem to favor the gay rights agenda in general and gay marriage in particular. Most notably, he calls the Defense of Marriage Act “unconstitutional” and has directed his justice department not to enforce this law. At the same time, he will not openly endorse gay marriage in so many words, though he says his views are “evolving.” What gives? Is he for it or against it?
It is a truism that you will know them by their fruits. President Obama’s actions speak much louder than his words. His tepid statements to the effect that he does not favor gay marriage just don’t really look all that convincing. And I am not alone in this opinion. Chris Cilliza of The Washington Post says it this way:
There’s also the matter of the campaign next year… Obama risks losing the support of at least some of his base by embracing gay marriage. The black and Latino communities remain steadfastly anti-gay marriage, and high turnout among both of those populations was a big reason Obama did so well in 2008… Even as gay marriage has gotten significanly more popular in the intervening years, it remains a risky proposition (no pun intended) with black and Latino voters, and Obama needs them in 2012.
There is a take-away here for supporters of traditional marriage but who otherwise favor progressive policies and Democratic candidates. The President appears to be angling for your vote. He reads the polls and knows that he risks losing you if he comes out openly in favor of gay marriage. That is why you are unlikely to see him lay his cards on the table until after he wins the 2012 election. It appears that he made a political calculation and that he’s saving the announcement until after the potential for political damage is past.
If there’s still anyone out there who is thinking that the President is with them in opposing gay marriage, think again. There is more than enough evidence that he is not. In fact, I think you can expect President Obama’s evolution to come to an abrupt end on Wednesday, November 7, 2012.