One Way to National SSM
Look, I’m not making any claims as to whether and how Obama will seek to silence the political right wing, or how much he’ll succeed if he tries. As I’ve been reading various news items throughout the campaign season, a plot has begun to form. It’s not a matter of predicting the future; it’s a matter of imagining a scenario and considering whether there’s a plausible path from here to there — not to argue that it will happen, but to entertain the imaginative question of whether it could. Behind all the writing, I’m a novelist at heart, and the emergence of a storyline intrigues me.
So, again, I’m not arguing that the following is likely, much less probable. I’m pointing out that something is possible, depending on a wide variety of other factors, and creating that world in a work of fiction would make for an interesting story.
To the above-linked post, msteven comments (in part):
How would Obama or anyone for that matter implement same-sex marriage nationally? Presidents or any political executives don’t have that type of power. Just ask the Mayor of SF. This is not to mention that Obama has already gone on record being against SSM? …
There is a significant difference between changing positions on taking public campaign money and on same-sex marriage, where the majority of the public is against it. The only reason he would even pursue implementing SSM is if it were to benefit him politically.
Put aside msteven’s faith that Obama’s relative silence on same-sex marriage indicates a lack of ideological drive rather than the existence of political calculation that would be subject to change. As far as I can tell from his Web site, Obama isn’t saying much about the marriage issue, probably for the very reason that msteven notes: his views conflict with those of the majority of the public. From what I’ve gleaned of Obama’s position, though, it’s consistent with the “civil unions” solution of giving homosexuals the same benefits and privileges, but without calling it marriage.
Well, unhappily, that’s precisely the route to the redefinition of merriage that California and Connecticut have blazed in recent months: Create a “different in name only” institution and then leave it to the courts to declare it unconstitutional not to fold them together. At the national level, that could negate every state law or constitutional amendment defining marriage as strictly an opposite-sex relationship, as well as every federal law (e.g., the Defense of Marriage Act) meant to keep the issue in check.
There are a variety of preconditions required for this to happen, of course, but in a (probably fictional) future that casts Obama in an attempt to suppress the conservative movement, the steps are not implausible. And if, in that world, the president (with the help of a supermajority of his own party in Congress) has successfully minimized the power of talk radio and the Internet, and perhaps begun to manacle private enterprise through unionization, he would have political reason — and cover — to gun for the churches.