Obama To Fake Changing Mind

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 23 2011 @ 11:22am


TNC is frustrated by Obama's "evolving" marriage equality position:

I think the thing that’s most troubling about the “evolving” fudge is it feels like someone is insulting your intelligence. This is clearly a move to back gay marriage as soon as enough Americans do the same. I’m actually fine with that. It’s positioning it as some sort of deep, internal struggle that rankles.

 Greg Sargent's two cents:

By declaring that his position is “evolving” on gay marriage, Obama put himself in a position that’s fundamentally untenable. He let the world know that he believes in full marriage equality, and that he will say so sooner or later. All this succeeded in doing is stoking impatience among gay advocates for him to go ahead and say what he really believe.

Dan Savage has been wrestling with the question. Yep, it's excruciating. But we should stop wanting the president to somehow legitimize a civil rights movement. It is we who will legitimize him.

These movements must come from below; they must be sustained and propelled by organic social forces; and, at this point, the New York State Senate is where the action is. In the future it will be in other state houses and courts and kitchen tables and PTA meetings. The presidency is pretty much irrelevant now, especially since the actual things a president can do, like help end the HIV ban, protect gay couples in federal employment, and end DADT, have been done. The federal government should have nothing to do with civil marriage in America. And in refusing to back DOMA in court, the Obama administration is actually proposing to take us back to that federalist position.

At the earliest stages of the campaign, I snuck into a fundraiser for Obama that was OTR. I wanted to see the man up-close, to do a gut-check on his character, the way he interacted with people. It just so happens the mother of a gay son asked him a marriage question. He kept to his "equality apart from the name" position, and I believed him. He may simply be cautious about taking a clear leadership position on something that still divides the over-40s and deeply divides the over-60s.

But when we have done our job – the education, the debate, the grass roots work, the intellectual framework – he will not stand in our way. He is to the gay rights movement where JFK was with the civil rights movement: waiting to be dragged to endorse us with the clarity we deserve.

Obama and no president should ever be regarded as a savior. In America, we save ourselves.

(Photo: Getty.)