Actually I find “evolving” on gay marriage until polls begin to show a majority of voters support gay marriage to be pretty convenient. It’s also quite convenient to announce that position after your Veep already came out with that view, donors are putting pressure on you to give a real answer on the issue, young voters are unexcited about your reelection campaign, and you’re about to head to a $40,000 a plate fundraiser at George Clooney’s house in socially liberal Los Angeles days later.
By Alex Hoffman
When Falls The Coliseum - 5/11/12
Quiz, what’s the difference between a sitting president, and an ex-Vice President?
Well in this case the sitting President has made his views clear and has taken steps to support gay equality, whereas the ex-Vice President sat by silent as his party and his administration used gay marriage as a wedge issue to motivate the base in 2004.
In other words, one did what was potentially politically inconvenient while the other did nothing.
Further, Obama’s position is nothing more than his personal opinion. He’s not going to take any action on it. He just supports the status quo of having states decide the legality of gay marriage. It changes nothing. The fact he came to this position 3 years later than a former Republican Vice President, who was viewed by many as a metaphorical Darth Vader just shows how unremarkable a feat this is.
Ah, yes. “Even Jimmy Carter could have supported gay marriage. Cheney supported it. Clinton supported gays. Ronald Reagan had gay friends.”
But none of them, while in office, came out and supported gay rights. Reagan was silent for the longest time as the AIDS epidemic spread, Clinton was responsible for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, and as I said above, Cheney was silent as his party and administration used gay marriage as a wedge issue to motivate the conservative base.
Barack Obama is the first sitting president to openly support gay marriage while in office. That is significant.
And I don’t buy the ‘Obama had to appease the youth vote/Hollywood celebrities’ argument*. Obama has already repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and his administration won’t support DOMA in the courts, either of which alone would shore up his gay rights credentials (particularly when his opponent in this coming election has moved further to the right on gay rights (and virtually everything else) on the road to his nomination; hell, just recently Romney was pressured into firing a staffer because he was *gasp* a homosexual; Obama safely had the gay/lesbian vote sewn up).
As for not taking any action on it, 1) it’s only been a week and 2) if he did announce he was going to focus his attention on getting gay marriage approved at the federal level (nevermind the pointlessness of thinking a Republican-controlled House would support efforts to repeal DOMA) you conservatives would be roasting him alive for ignoring the economy. Oh wait, you guys already are. Right? This is supposed to be a distraction from the real, sole important issue of the economy.
*By the way, I always love when conservatives invoke ‘Hollywood celebrity’ as a special interest group; what is it that’s supposed to disqualify them from being taken seriously? That they’re famous? That they’re actors and singers instead of plumbers?
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