The president has now announced what everyone already knew — he favors the radical redefinition of marriage.
He claimed that this was the result of an “evolution” in his thinking, but it was actually just a public statement of a position that he has held since the mid-1990’s, when he was an obscure State Senator in Illinois. The non-surprise announcement came at the end of a week when his Vice President and several Cabinet secretaries announced that they supported redefining marriage. And by all accounts it was the result of a political/financial calculation aimed at shoring up support in a very generous constituency. Of course, the President tries to have it both ways, claiming that he favors allowing states to maintain the authentic definition of marriage — while his Justice Department undermines that freedom, and while he has actually advocated against it.
Any wonder why so many people are cynical about politics?
In terms of actual policies, it’s hard to see how this announcement will make any difference. The administration has already abdicated its obligation to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, and has even advocated for courts to overturn it — a remarkable position for a president who swore to faithfully execute the laws and the Constitution. It has assiduously advanced a consistent “gay rights” agenda both at home and abroad.
Regardless of any political calculations, this announcement should fill defenders of marriage with trepidation. The president has an enormous capacity for influencing public opinion. Will he show respect for those who defend authentic marriage, or will this lead to our being further stigmatized as “bigots”? There is no question that the leaders of the effort to redefine marriage wish to equate our position to that of the racist segregationists. Will the President, who claimed to be interested in uniting Americans and moving past the politics of personal destruction, fall in line with that polarizing rhetoric? His track record is not encouraging.
The federal government also has frightful authority to enforce laws against “discrimination.” Interestingly, the president invoked his personal faith in making this announcement. But will he — and his army of lawyers — show respect for the liberty of churches, organizations, and individuals who disagree with him based on their own religious beliefs? The track record again is not encouraging.
It is a dangerous moment when the president rejects the foundation of our society. It may be a risky future for those of us who dissent.