Poor Ax, tasked here with salvaging some sort of logic from a stance which everyone knows is taken purely for reasons of political expediency. Fox News has a handy list of Obama quotes on Prop 8 and gay rights over the past few years, from which I’ve gleaned the following: (a) He opposes same-sex marriage and (b) believes that states should be able to set their own marriage rules, but (c) if a state decides to set its own rules by adopting his position, then, according to a White House spokesman, it’s “divisive and discriminatory.” (Fun footnote to that last point: During the campaign, The One told Jake Tapper that he had no problem with what California was doing.) If he thinks restricting gay marriage is perniciously discriminatory, why on earth would he support letting California do it? And if, as Axelrod says, he thinks it was “mean-spirited” to pass Prop 8, where does that leave us vis-a-vis O’s continuing opposition to gay marriage? Barack Obama — hateful hyper-federalist?

Actually, as a matter of policy, I think he subscribes to the Kathleen McKinley “compromise” view that full civil unions should be perfectly okay but the label of “marriage” should be reserved for straights. That’s a common argument from gay-marriage opponents and definitely one offered in good faith, but from the standpoint of equal protection law, it actually makes their case harder, not easier. Remember, Walker’s point yesterday was that there’s no rational reason to discriminate against gays when it comes to marital status. All the usual arguments — to encourage procreation, etc — were addressed and discarded. When you make the rhetorical concession of saying, okay then, we should give gays all the same marriage rights as straights but let’s just keep the labels distinct, you’re actually making his point for him — that there’s no rational substantive basis for distinguishing between us and them. If you want to draw a conceptual line between two groups as a matter of law, you need a solid justification. Otherwise, why draw it?

Exit quotation via Bob Maistros: “With Judge Walker’s decision, it comes down to this for proponents of traditional marriage: go to the feds for constitutional protection of marriage, and they say regulating marriage is a state matter. Regulate marriage on the state level, and the feds will invalidate your actions as violating the U.S. Constitution.”

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