The full context of the President’s remarks is here, if you wish to read it. But in a rhetorical display typifying the President’s penchant for brevity and understatement, here is what he told ABC News’ Dianne Sawyer:
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
So the President has come out of the closet, so to speak, with regard to his personal view on gay marriage. Thank you for clarifying the issue, Mr. President.
A couple of months ago, William McGurn of the Wall Street Journal had this to say about the double-standard politics surrounding President Obama’s stance on gay marriage:
When Barack Obama was campaigning for president in 2008, he declared that marriage is between a man and a woman. For the most part, his position was treated as a nonissue.
Now Rick Santorum is campaigning for president. He too says that marriage is between a man and a woman. What a different reaction he gets.
There’s no mystery why. Mr. Santorum is attacked because everyone understands that he means what he says.
President Obama, by contrast, gets a pass because everyone understands—nudge nudge, wink wink—that he’s not telling the truth. The press understands that this is just one of those things a Democratic candidate has to say so he doesn’t rile up the great unwashed.
So at least he doesn’t have to pretend any more. But now that the President has essentially been forced to admit that his personal beliefs and public stance have been incongruent on on at least one major issue, the big-name editorialists in print and broadcast media ought to start asking questions – how many more of President Obama’s publicly stated beliefs and ideals don’t match up with his own personal worldview?
The Obama Administration was thrown a serious curve by Vice President Biden’s off-the-cuff remarks on gay marriage this past weekend, and after their attempts to downplay Biden’s remarks failed miserably, it seems that this big statement by the President might be the only workable damage control option they had left. Conservative pundits are already asking if this is an attempt by the White House to spin gay marriage into yet another issue they can try to use to polarize the electorate and create a radicalized image of the Republican Party. But considering that traditional marriage has already been backed via referendum in 31 states so far, some with margins of victory (or defeat) as great as 60%, I would expect that a “war on gays” would flop about as badly as the “war on women” or the “war on dogs.”
The Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, writes:
Back in 2008 it was the black Christian vote that defeated gay marriage in California. African Americans voted for Obama, but while they were there, they voted against gay marriage. It’s one of those stories no one wanted to talk about. Now, things become interesting: do African American churches, hearing the president say that “my Christian beliefs” inform this newly declared viewpoint, simply give up their own beliefs to support his do they stand for their own? And then, who’s Christian beliefs are right? That’s a whole ball of wax I bet no one wanted to deal with in this election.