During the 2008 campaign, Obama took what many on both sides of the gay marriage debate viewed as a straddle. He publicly announced his opposition to same-sex marriage, but he also said that he opposed the California ballot measure seeking to ban it, Prop. 8— the same ban Walker ruled unconstitutional Wednesday.
Obama explained the seeming contradiction at the time by saying that he opposes any measure singling out a group for adverse treatment by amending the U.S. Constitution or a state constitution, as Prop 8. did, even though legal experts said that was the only viable way to block gay marriage in California.
Gay activists lauded Obama’s stance, but remain disappointed and a tad puzzled by his unwillingness to simply endorse gay marriage.
“His position on Prop. 8 has always been clear. What has not been clear is how he squares his position for equality with his refusal to embrace actual equality in marriage. That is unclear, increasingly unclear, and there’s no good reason to explain it,” said Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry. “That’s an unsatisfying position that does nothing but frustrate those of us who look to him as the champion he promised to be…He’s not gaining anything and Judge Walker just made that crystal clear.”