Obama's Convenient Gay Marriage 'Evolution'

By Dailey, Ruth Ann | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), May 14, 2012 | Go to article overview

Obama's Convenient Gay Marriage 'Evolution'


Dailey, Ruth Ann, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The announcement last week of Barack Obama's "evolution" on gay marriage -- both its substance and its timing -- provoked scoffing accusations of political cynicism from cultural conservatives.

But it's possible the cynicism runs deeper -- and the failure of leadership is greater -- than conveniently evolving into a gay marriage advocate just in time to rake in millions from big donors in Hollywood (where the institution of marriage is of course so highly prized). To assess it, we have to go back a few years and examine President Obama's professed legal -- and religious -- thinking.

In the August 2008 candidates' forum at Saddleback Church, the Rev. Rick Warren posed this simple request: "Define marriage."

Candidate Obama answered: "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian -- for me -- for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union ..."

Rev. Warren then asked, "Would you support a constitutional amendment with that definition?"

"No I would not," Mr. Obama answered, "... because historically we have not defined marriage in our Constitution. It's been a matter of state law. That has been our tradition."

And of course the other momentous gay marriage announcement last week was the decision of North Carolina voters, by a significant margin, to define marriage in their state as being between one man and one woman only.

Their action, then, is a "tradition" that Mr. Obama, when still a candidate, affirmed.

Candidate Obama also once said he aspired to be a "transformational" president, but on this issue he has passed up a spectacular opportunity. The reason why can also be seen in his Saddleback responses -- and in his administration's disregard for religious liberties in the Orwellian "Affordable Health Care Act."

It's primarily because he views religion as purely private sentiment. At Saddleback he began his response on marriage, "For me as a Christian -- for me -- for me ..." -- a beautiful distillation of baby boomer tendencies -- and ended, "I think my faith is strong enough and my marriage is strong enough that I can afford [marriage rights] to others, even if I have a different perspective."

But religion isn't only about an individual's point of view, and the constitution does not protect "freedom of worship," as leftists increasingly tend to call it. The constitution guarantees free exercise of religion. While worship is an attitude of the individual ("for me -- for me -- for me"), religions are practiced in groups. …

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