Positioning on Marriage
It’s quite convenient that the New York Times would present Barack Obama as something of a cultural conservative on the issue of same-sex marriage — what with a contentious high-stakes battle over marriage on the ballot in California:
Several gay friends and wealthy gay donors to Senator Barack Obama have asked him over the years why, as a matter of logic and fairness, he opposes same-sex marriage even though he has condemned old miscegenation laws that would have barred his black father from marrying his white mother.
The difference, Mr. Obama has told them, is religion.
As a Christian — he is a member of the United Church of Christ — Mr. Obama believes that marriage is a sacred union, a blessing from God, and one that is intended for a man and a woman exclusively, according to these supporters and Obama campaign advisers. While he does not favor laws that ban same-sex marriage, and has said he is “open to the possibility” that his views may be “misguided,” he does not support it and is not inclined to fight for it, his advisers say.
His construction of the issue is entirely in keeping with the scenario that I suggested last week, whereby the Democrats running the federal government would implement civil unions and kick it to the courts to take the dirty-work last step. For example, Obama opposes state-level constitutional amendments defining marriage in the way that he supposedly believes to be correct; without them, the only barrier to judiciary-legislated same-sex marriage coast to coast would be the Defense of Marriage Act. Or consider this:
“Barack is an intellectual guy, and I know he has been thinking through his position on gay marriage, and what is fair for all people,” said Michael Bauer, an openly gay fund-raiser for Mr. Obama and an adviser to his campaign on gay issues. “But he is just not there with us on this issue.”
He’s an “intellectual guy” who is “wary of linking his religion to policy decisions”:
“And I was reminded,” Mr. Obama added [in The Audacity of Hope], “that it is my obligation, not only as an elected official in a pluralistic society but also as a Christian, to remain open to the possibility that my unwillingness to support gay marriage is misguided, just as I cannot claim infallibility in my support of abortion rights.”
The odds are very good, I’d say, that a President Obama would discover the error of his ways on marriage long before he’d have any epiphanies on abortion.