It’s hard to keep up with the pirouettes of Douglas Kmiec, but perhaps he is taking lessons from his dance partner du jour, Barack Obama. Consider:
In 1996, Barack Obama was on the record during state senate elections as in favor of same-sex marriage. (Hat tip to Frank Beckwith at Southern Appeal.) He has since backed off to saying that he’s for civil unions that have all the trappings of marriage but not the label (see his answer to Question 6 here, posted at the Obama-Biden website). We know from the California supreme court that this is just an invitation to activist judges to take the last step, but it gives Obama electoral cover.
Obama has been consistently committed, however, to repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (as the campaign’s website confirms). But repealing DOMA will pave the way for recognition in every state of same-sex marriage (not that Obama’s appointees to the Supreme Court would be slowed down much by DOMA anyway). So who publicly chastised Obama on this point last year? Why, none other than his current supporter Douglas Kmiec (h/t to Frank again). As a former teacher of constitutional law, Obama knows Kmiec was right about this, although he denied it last year. Have Obama and Kmiec renewed their conversation about this–and does Kmiec now buy an Obama position he rejected in 2007?
Whatever. Kmiec by now should be used to shedding old positions like a snake sheds his skin. As Catholic blogger Jack Smith points out (h/t National Catholic Register), Kmiec wrote several columns in 2007-08, as a syndicated columnist for the Catholic press, which his present support for Obama flatly contradicts. In one of them Kmiec wrote this:
To whomever we decide to give the awesome responsibility and privilege of serving as the next U.S. president, let this solemn promise never be breached again: Those appointed to the federal bench shall fully affirm the Declaration of Independence when it proclaims life to be an “unalienable right.”
Two days later, Kmiec endorsed Obama at Slate.
If you can follow the steps in the Kmiec-Obama dance, you may be ready for work as an Arthur Murray instructor. Hint: Obama is leading.