Politics & Policy

The Future of an Illusion

For much of the last decade — which is to say, for his entire national career — President Obama has said that he opposes same-sex marriage. Now he says that his “attitudes are evolving” on same-sex marriage. Let’s review the record.

In 1996, at a time when public opinion ran strongly against same-sex marriage, he indicated his support for it on two candidate questionnaires. He has consistently opposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. He opposes state constitutional amendments doing the same thing: In 2008, when the California supreme court ruled that the state constitution required official recognition of same-sex marriages, he said that he “respected” the decision and opposed a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to undo it.

#ad#At a time when other Democrats were talking about modifying the Defense of Marriage Act, Obama favored repealing it — and thus forcing states to recognize same-sex marriages established in other states. His administration has made a quarter-hearted defense (if that) of the act’s constitutionality in court, a point which a federal judge cited in striking down the law.

So, to recap: President Obama — who has in the past said he supports same-sex marriage, who has consistently opposed any effort to block same-sex marriage, and who says he might support it (again) in the future — opposes same-sex marriage. The Washington Post, speculating in its news pages about Obama’s future evolution to open supporter of same-sex marriage, sounds a cautionary political note: “Indeed, public opinion is so divided on the issue that the president would probably need months to sway voters to his position.” Once he decides what it is, of course.

As we have noted before, liberalism has found the perfect division of labor: Elected officials can pretend to oppose same-sex marriage, secure in the knowledge that courts will pretend to interpret the law. Same-sex marriage is the “civil-rights movement” that can’t survive speaking the truth.

The Editors — The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

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