Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama's Support of Gay Marriage

Obama knows how to do this.

This is an easy post to write. Barack Obama did something good yesterday. He made public his personal belief that disallowing gay marriage is discriminatory. He hedged by saying that it's up to the states to choose whether or not to permit gay marriage, a position, I admit, is a bit of a muddle.

He's already on record that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and will longer to be supported by the Department of Justice. If you don't think discrimination against gay marriage is constitutional, then why suggest the states are free to choose?

I suspect that the former constitutional law professor in Obama gets that states are free to pass laws that will later be overturned by courts. So to defend states' rights is just good optics and softens his move in the eyes of some states' rights adherents in the center who aren't opposed to gay marriage. But these are just quibbles.

Barack Obama has made the sea change that the younger generations already have made without difficulty, just as many older Americans have as they work past the old bugaboos. I've made that journey from young homophobic buck to a more mature advocate of gay tolerance and on to the even more mature realization that as citizens, gays are entitled to everything I am.

Leave it to Atrios of Eschaton to say it best:
Deny basic rights to people because it makes you feel a bit icky. Dumbasses. It's not fucking about you.
That's exactly right.

Beyond that, there might lie a little political calculus. My own take is that Obama did it now because he could; he did it now to fire up the right-wing crazies, making them look both grotesque and out of touch during an election year; he did it now to fire a shot across the Supreme Court's bow, as they're likely to rule this year on the subject; he did it now because more people every day are marching with him on the issue, and not against him. By November even more will support gay marriage, that's just how fast attitudes are evolving. And, most definitely, he did it now to excite the youth vote, who are out front of everyone on this.

Romney bullied gays in prep school. Here he is explaining it. Good luck with that.

Of course, one hopes he did it because he believes in it. For me, that's not a stretch. He is who he is. He's a centrist who knows where the center is moving. For Barack Obama, that's into the 21st century. Let the Republicans show they're the party of the 19th. You know they will.

Yesterday, Barack Obama made history simply by joining history, which is already moving inexorably on.

Sunday, Joe Biden picked lemons. Yesterday, Obama made lemonade.
Update. I apparently misjudged one aspect of this. It seems that the Republican elite -- those who decide the "face" of the party -- don't want a culture war on gay marriage. That says that the insiders of the party, surprisingly, suspect this is a losing issue for them. Sure, they want a fired-up conservative white Christian base, but the elite probably believe that'll happen by itself. But they don't want the crazies mucking up the more important battleground, which they feel is the economy. Read this memo by President Bush’s 2004 pollster Jan van Lohuizen. It sums up the issue quite clearly, and from the guarded way current Republicans, including Mitt Romney, are behaving, they've taken the memo to heart. (h/t Josh Marshall.)

No comments:

Post a Comment