For years, President Obama has officially backed civil partnerships for same-sex couples, but not gay marriage — though he famously said last fall that his views are "evolving." The extent of that evolution was put to the test Thursday night at a gay and lesbian gala fundraiser for Obama in New York state, which may be on the verge of legalizing gay marriage. Though event attendees put pressure on the president to endorse same-sex marriage, Obama maintained his "studious ambivalence," insisting that states should decide the question. With the gay community getting impatient, will Obama have to pick sides before November 2012?
Hopefully, Obama will come around: The New York City fundraiser made one thing clear — Obama "hasn't evolved on marriage," says Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog. That means the gay community has to keep up the pressure, for our good and Obama's. "The president is already behind the curve of public opinion on [gay] marriage, particularly with young voters," and with any luck, he'll soon realize that coming out for gay matrimony is now "good politics" as well as good policy.
"Confirmed: President Obama hasn't evolved on marriage"
There are good political reasons for Obama's hesitance: Obama's "devolution" on gay marriage is "totally maddening," says Dan Savage at Seattle's The Stranger. But his reluctance is understandable. "There's the electoral college to think about," and while most Americans now back gay marriage, that's not true in key swing states that Obama must keep in his column to win re-election. The gay community should still press him — but if Obama backs same-sex marriage and loses to a Republican in 2012, gay-rights advocates may shoulder the blame, fair or not.
"AC 360: Obama's devolution on marriage equality"
Obama is "irrelevant" to the debate: Gay marriage proponents are already winning, and we don't need Obama to be our "savior," says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. Besides, he's already done what he can at the federal level: Ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," giving same-sex benefits to federal workers, and abandoning the Defense of Marriage Act. The real action is at the state level now, and if Obama won't lead, he also "will not stand in our way."
"Obama to fake changing mind"