Everybody knows by now that the President’s views have evolved to the point where he publicly expressed support for same-sex marriage. Kudos to him for finally taking that stance. It’s the right one, rational and fair.
Actually I suspect he’s privately long held that view, but the political climate has changed enough recently that he calculated he could say it out loud, hence the mildness of my plaudits. Most people are now crediting him with great personal political courage if they like him and/or equal marriage. (If they don’t he’s destroying America, of course.) I like both, myself, but I just don’t see this as all that daring.
First of all, whether it’s his views or his willingness to speak them that’s evolved, he waited until the policy had majority or plurality support in almost every poll. It’s not that daring to express a view only after it achieves popularity.
Secondly, he only expressed it as a personal view. The personal views of Presidents on controversial subjects don’t have to, and more often than not don’t, have much bearing on their policies or what legislation they push for passage. His policies have in fact been quite progressive on gay rights, such as ending DADT, extending spousal privileges to federal employees in same-sex partnerships and so forth, so I’m hopeful he will do some pushing, but it’s not certain.
Thirdly, this move helps him by energizing his progressive base, especially the youth, who compared with four years ago have been distinctly cooler about getting involved. At the same time, the people most likely to turn against him because of this are already against him, because of his above mentioned prior substantive support for the LGBT coomunites.
Finally, he expressed support for gay marriage explicitly in terms of if States want to allow it. He has nothing to do with State laws, and while he has instructed his Justice Department to stop vigorously defending DOMA he has not made any gestures to indicate he will push to have that plainly un-Constitutional law overturned for its Fourteenth Amendment violation. I’m sure he wouldn’t oppose such an attempt, but he’s certainly not helping nurture one.
So yeah, I’m glad he said it, but it’s not all that impressive in and of itself.