I don’t often agree with the National Review Online but this article accurately exposes Obama’s history of politically convenient and entirely unprincipled positions on same-sex marriage.
In 1996, at a time when public opinion ran strongly against same-sex marriage, he indicated his support for it on two candidate questionnaires. He has consistently opposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. He opposes state constitutional amendments doing the same thing: In 2008, when the California supreme court ruled that the state constitution required official recognition of same-sex marriages, he said that he “respected” the decision and opposed a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to undo it.
At a time when other Democrats were talking about modifying the Defense of Marriage Act, Obama favored repealing it — and thus forcing states to recognize same-sex marriages established in other states. His administration has made a quarter-hearted defense (if that) of the act’s constitutionality in court, a point which a federal judge cited in striking down the law.
So, to recap: President Obama — who has in the past said he supports same-sex marriage, who has consistently opposed any effort to block same-sex marriage, and who says he might support it (again) in the future — opposes same-sex marriage. The Washington Post, speculating in its news pages about Obama’s future evolution to open supporter of same-sex marriage, sounds a cautionary political note: “Indeed, public opinion is so divided on the issue that the president would probably need months to sway voters to his position.” Once he decides what it is, of course.
They’re right. He’s played political games with this issue all along. I don’t think Obama cares a bit about the issue. He’d be more than happy to have same-sex marriage be legal everywhere in the United States. And that is the correct, principled position. But the polls don’t show strong support for that position so he tried to be all things to all people by claiming to be in favor of civil unions but against same-sex marriage, a totally unprincipled position that carries with it the false pretense of actually meaning something.