Nevertheless, even if the two decisions were not made for noble reasons, they represented Obama’s true positions. It is important that we know where the president stands.

Obama was always against DOMA, always in favor of gay marriage. He adopted the “evolution” pose because his true position was politically risky. (I resist saying it was politically “unpopular” because gay marriage is not as unpopular as it was just a few years ago). Back then, he wanted to get elected and reelected; he still cared enough to feign support for what he opposed in order to remain viable.

I was glad when Obama came out of the closet, so to speak. Put aside the benefits of transparency. The president’s gamesmanship on DOMA was not cost-free hypocrisy. As Ed Whelan has shown, in ostensibly defending the statute, Holder’s Justice Department was actually sabotaging the litigation — forfeiting some of the best arguments in DOMA’s favor. When the Obama administration switched sides, it was at least possible to replace the Justice Department with counsel who would zealously represent the cause they were advocating.