Yesterday, president Obama announced his support for gay marriage, and the mainstream media became abuzz with “breaking news” headlines, stories from the “inside”, and “exclusive” interviews with “anonymous” sources. But truthfully, who cares? Did it REALLY surprise ANYONE that Obama supports gay marriage? Sure, publicly, he’s flip-flopped back and forth finally taking the official stance of “my position is still evolving”, whatever the heck that means. But I think we should take a moment to examine the relevance of his support and what that means for the gay movement.
The issue of gay marriage has been primarily fought at the state level, with many states passing restrictions, and a few allowing such marriages to commence. Sure, there’s been some action at the federal level, such as the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (it wasn’t REALLY a repeal but instead, a brand new law), and Obama’s decision to not defend DOMA, otherwise known as the “Defense of Marriage Act” (technically an unconstitutional threat as the president is required to defend the constitution, which includes the “Supremacy Clause” and requires Obama to defend DOMA whether he likes it or not), but none of that is really here nor there as, for the most part, the states are responsible for deciding their own laws governing marriage. In fact, the power of the states to define marriage for themselves is codified in DOMA as each state is not required to recognize a marriage certificate issued in another. So, it can easily be argued that this issue has already been fought at the federal level and, apart from deciding to not defend DOMA, there’s really little else that Obama CAN do to further the movement. Even if Obama were to push for a repeal of DOMA, those states that prohibit gay marriage would simply add a section to their existing laws codifying their intent to only recognize certain marriage certificates (if such a section were not already present).
The issue of gay marriage is never going to be decided by Obama, nor by Congress. Instead, the issue has evolved to the point that it will only be decided by the United States Supreme Court. Obama suddenly deciding that he’s supportive of gay marriage has no relevance to the issue itself and anyone who was surprised by his sudden show of support yesterday should know that the only reason Obama came out in support is because Romney is firmly against the idea of gay marriage. In other words, to Obama, it’s nothing more than a calculated political move that Obama HOPES will pay off on Election Day by rallying the mostly liberal, LGBT crowd.