Pity poor Jay Carney, getting beaten up soundly yesterday for having to explain the inexplicable: President Obama's position on same-sex marriage. Okay, it's explicable—the White House is obviously calculating that now is not the right time to draw fire on gay and lesbian rights—but that's not the kind of thing you have your press secretary say, now, is it? And of course, I'm explicitly calling him "President Obama," as earlier incarnations of Obama had a quite different position, as Richard Kim shows nicely over at The Nation, where he argues that Second-Term-President Obama will attend a lesbian or gay staffer's wedding, have a moving revelation that it's All About Love And Love is Good, and the evolution will be complete.
Patrick Caldwell is right, of course—no one trusts this cautious position, left or right, which is why Carney's getting the press conference equivalent of heckling. You just don't let your vice president and your secretary of education run around saying they're for something that your administration opposes. And I do agree that Obama's campaign would get a boost of enthusiasm from its volunteers if he came out in favor—but I also think that Romney would get a counterbalancing surge of enthusiasm from the religious right wing, who otherwise might stay home. Writing this will make my friend Evan Wolfson at Freedom to Marry quite unhappy, but I don't know what Obama should do to get reelected. I lived through the backlash when Clinton tried to move things forward for us, and it left me very cautious about the volatility of national attitudes toward the homos.
But here's why Tigger is thumping her tail (and hey, my inner Tigger is a her If I Say So): This issue isn't being driven by the LGBT press. Yes, I'm that old: I'm just in awe and joy every day about the fact that my marriage is considered an issue worthy of dominating a White House press conference—as a good thing, as an obvious next step in the nation's social evolution. The mainstream news media obviously consider Obama's once and future position a no-brainer. Within five years I'm going to be married not just in Massachusetts but in the entire United States. That sound you hear is Tigger jumping all around the room enthusiastically.
In scarcely related news, the UN Commissioner on Human Rights has put out a lovely little video promoting LGBT rights to the world, which includes the very quotable line "punish violence and hatred, not love," apparently aimed at developing nations and nations that still criminalize same-sex intimacies. I don't know who it will affect, or how, but: What she said.