President Obama is a thorough-going man of the left obsessed with power and thus in re-election, so his decision Wednesday to declare for same sex marriage is hardly a surprise. The only surprise is that his timing was so nakedly political and reflexive. The president was pushed into declaring his support by his Vice President and his Secretary of Education, and no serious person disputes this.
“Leading from behind” –the famous White House description of the president’s Libya policy retailed by the White House to the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza--now has found its expression in domestic politics.
Of course Obama was for same sex marriage before he was against it and before he was for it again. He’s a weather vane on this issue, and his genuine ideological extremism had led him to support same sex marriage long before Gallup announced days ago it had become a preference among a majority of Americans, but the president had abandoned his earlier support when it became an inconvenient truth for him while running for president.
No matter. Every state electorate but one that has been asked to vote on the issue has voted for traditional marriage, and the vast, vast majority of supporters of traditional marriage are not anti-gay or anti-lesbians. They believe, as I do, that marriage between a man and woman is ordained by God for the happiness of humankind and the building up of society, and that it is to be preferred to any other situation for the raising of children.
This is not to say that single parents, or same sex couples cannot be terrific parents. They can be, often far better at it than married couples who are terrible, horrible parents from whose “care” children must be removed.
Rather it is to say that, as an organizing principle, societies can hold up as the ideal one father and one mother, joined for life in a sacred bond, committed to each other and their offspring. No child of a situation other than that ideal for society is any less a valued member of society –born or unborn, ordinary or disabled in some way—but equal love for all life is perfectly consistent with the conviction that the society is best served by keeping traditional marriage as the recognized best situation for the vast majority of children.
Well meaning people can and do disagree with this, but solid majorities of Americans still vote this way, most recently on Tuesday in North Carolina, and, to repeat, the vast majority of those people are not in the least bigoted towards gays or lesbians.