For President Barack Obama’s entire political career, and presumably his life, he opposed gay marriage.
That is until Wednesday when he said he, in fact, supported gay marriage.
If you were on Twitter or Facebook, you no doubt saw the fireworks and parades lauding President Obama for his brave and heroic stand.
But as friend of mine put it, having a President who says he supports gay marriage is cool, having a president who actually supports gay marriage is cooler.
Let’s be very clear about what this is: there was nothing “heroic” or “brave” about what President Obama did or said.
There was absolutely no risk.
Polling numbers showed more Americans support gay marriage than oppose it.
When Obama took office, just 40% supported gay marriage and you know what the President said about it? Nothing.
In fact, he has repeatedly and habitually equivocated on the topic, although he has, as a representative in Illinois, come out flatly against gay marriage in the past.
Obama has said his position on gay marriage has been “evolving” but there’s a clear and obvious political motivation to bring that evolution to a head now.
Vice President Joe Biden had already come out in support of gay marriage, a public chumming of the waters so to speak.
There wasn’t rioting in the streets, so Obama took his opportunity to score some cheap political points.
He’s already said he was planning on making this announcement before Biden spoke, but of course he’d say that. What else could he say?
You know what would have been brave?
Coming out in support of gay marriage on Monday, a day before North Carolina was going to vote on a same-sex marriage referendum.
The President won North Carolina in 2008, is having the Democratic Convention there this summer, why not take that step and put your policy avocation on the ballot in a metaphoric sense?
The answer is obvious: because if he lost, the good will he built up is lost along with it.
Obama’s move was so transparent, so discernible, that Gawker called it “bullshit” in their headline yesterday.
As the article points out, not only was this move an obvious political exercise, but it was a flaccid one at that.
The President said he believed gay couples “should” be able to get married, not that they had “the right” to do so and the difference is more than just semantics.
If you don’t want to put teeth into what you’re saying, if you aren’t willing advocate a policy change, then what you say literally means nothing.
In fact, Obama added that he believed gay marriage is a state issue (which is silly, because federal law already says so), and 44 states say marriage is between a man and a woman.
Let’s recap: President Obama believes gays should be able to get married, but that the states should decide. Almost 90% of states have already decided that the president is wrong.
There’s nothing brave about this. Obama message-tested what he said and cherry-picked a time when it would most benefit him to make an announcement that anyone who is really paying attention should know is as disingenuous and vapid as such things can be.
It’s honestly offensive to me that he would patronize us with this kind of hollow, political posturing over a major civil rights issue. And that doesn’t even account for the distraction he was hoping to create from yet another pathetic set of economic numbers and unemployment statistics.
Look, I believe gay couples should have the same rights and protections under the law as straight couples.
But I don’t, for one second, believe that our president feels the same way.