On Wednesday, the White House gave ABC’s Robin Roberts an interview she will probably never forget. After many statements from Barack Obama since 2007 on the subject of gay marriage, varying from religious based opposition to an “evolving” view of it, Obama finally told Robin Roberts that he supports gay marriage.
And the crowd goes wild!!!! ABC broke into “General Hospital” with breaking news. Israel attacked Iraq? No. The President told a reporter he supports gay marriage. Other networks declared history was made. The Presidential declaration was a watershed moment.
I hate to rain on the parade (an interesting metaphor under the circumstances), but I have to ask, so what? Barack Obama is disliked (at least politically if not personally) by at least 40% of the nation. This is not Moses coming forth with the ten commandments. This is one man whose opinion doesn’t amount to a hill of beans to a good portion of the country. In fact, there is a subset of the country who will be doubly against gay marriage because Obama is for it. (Remember that obstructionist GOP which blocks every idea coming out of the White House, even if it started with them, ahem, health care mandates?)
Don’t get me wrong. I support Obama. I support gay marriage. If I were Obama’s personal friend, I’d be pleased that he has finally reached what I consider to be a humane conclusion on the subject. But the fact remains that despite over 50% of folks supporting gay marriage in polls, once they enter the voting booth the opinion changes. Not one single referendum on same-sex marriage has come out in favor of the gay community. More than half the States in the Union make marriage between same-sex partners illegal. Less than 24 hours before Obama’s declaration North Carolina citizens voted for the most draconian anti-gay state constitutional amendment to come down the pike so far.
So my fellow liberals, if it makes you all warm and fuzzy that “our man” came out and said what needed to be said, sure, I understand. But history hasn’t been made. The watershed moment has not been experienced. The only thing that has happened is that one man, actively discounted by almost half the country, stated his opinion. In this age of the diminished influence and stature of the Presidency, that opinion won’t change any hearts or minds. The victory lap is premature. The fight goes on. The battle is far from won.