Debra J. Saunders

Carney would not say whether the president will go to states to campaign against same-sex marriage bans. It doesn't seem likely, however, as the president told ABC News' Robin Roberts that he thinks the fact that "different communities are arriving at different conclusions at different times" is "a healthy process."

GOP political strategist Rob Stutzman doesn't think the Obama statement is "that big a deal politically," especially because the president "obviously was pushed into it."

Forget the politics, Rauch argued; the Obama announcement is huge culturally. Also, it contrasts well against Romney's journey from one-time courtier of gay votes to tepid supporter of civil unions. (It's not as if Romney looks highly principled on this issue.)

I wonder whether Obama will be able to maintain the tolerant attitude he displayed Wednesday as the presidential campaign heats up. The president told ABC that he supports same-sex marriage laws that are "respectful of religious liberty" and allow churches and faith institutions to determine their sacraments for themselves. Those were reasonable, moderate points -- which fly in the face of his administration's decision to force church-based institutions with deeply held religious objections to provide contraception as part of their employee health care plans.

If church groups can't say no to subsidizing contraception, why would they be able to say no to same-sex couples?

Already activists are calling for the Democratic Party to move its national convention out of Charlotte to punish North Carolina for its vote against same-sex marriage. Some 26,000 people have signed a "say no to discrimination" petition that calls for Democrats to move the confab to a "state that upholds values of equality and liberty."

Much has been written of Romney's sojourn from gay-friendly Republican to pared-down civil-union supporter in an often craven pursuit of voters in the GOP base. The less Romney says about civil unions the better.

Obama has the opposite problem.

In coming home to his support of same-sex marriage, Obama has unleashed his like-minded base. This is the base that has tried to use the courts to force the Boy Scouts to admit gay Scout leaders and its political muscle to coerce church-based charities to provide benefits for domestic partners. Obama's base has a name for people who (like Obama last month) believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman only. That word is "bigot."

And those who hurl it do so in the name of tolerance.

Debra J. Saunders

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