Obama’s view on same-sex marriage can’t evolve fast enough
posted at 12:42 pm on May 8, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
There must be days when Barack Obama wishes the election were tomorrow. Such days doubtless include whenever his second-in-command, Joe Biden, appears in public—especially to enlarge upon a topic on which the president’s own views are “still evolving.”
Such an occasion was this past Sunday when Biden made an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, where he expressed his unconditional support for same-sex marriage. As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank noted, this puts the president in an unenviable situation. (His press secretary, too, who spent so much time on Monday mopping up the mess Biden created that Milbank quipped that Carney “should be offered a membership in the janitors’ union.”Video here.)
As for Obama, this is what comes of playing politics rather than acting the part of leader. No one is fooled about Obama’s position of gay rights. If it weren’t for reasons of political expediency, he would have come out strongly in favor of same-sex marriage long ago. Doing so would have not only freed him up to follow the courage of his convictions, but it would have solidified his standing in the gay community.
Sure, he already enjoys widespread support among LGBTs in his bid for re-election. Some polls show him with 64% approval among members of this demographic. But every vote counts—which is why for every step forward he takes (the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), he takes a step backward (refusing last month to sign an executive order banning discrimination against gay, bisexual, and transgender people working for or seeking employment from federal contractors). To cater to gays, not to mention his own inclination to support them, is to alienate another key constituency, blacks, who oppose the legalization of gay marriage 55% to 42%.
In fairness, every candidate for elective office goes through the motions of kissing babies and making nice. None in my experience has done it as coolly or calculatingly as Barack Obama. If this is what he meant when he promised the most transparent administration in history, then he is to be commended as a man of his word.
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