It’s About Time
Fellow Ordinary Gentleman Elias’ earlier erudite essay has indeed been OBE, exactly as he predicted. In the linked video, the President describes undertaking a personal journey of opinion not unlike mine, which was one of thinking of that civil unions were just as good to realizing that indeed they were not, that nomenclature and the social prestige associated with the word marriage matters. And it’s pleasing to see the President finally modifying his position to one which conforms more closely to my own.
While it might have been more pleasing to see this move as leading rather than following the polls, and Elias’ political calculus seems exactly right — waffling on the issue would cost Obama with his base, while this new plank of his political platform will really only upset people who are unlikely to vote for him anyway — we ought not let the imperfections blur the fact that this is good news. If nothing else, it is a signal that endorsement of same-sex marriage has become not only mainstream but a position that a politician must consider seriously when reaching out to the decisive if dwindling middle span of the political spectrum necessary to win elections in diverse electorates.
Because as the map above shows, there is still much work to do, many hearts and minds to change, more lawsuits to file and prosecute, more initiatives to advocate and more legislatures to petition, before SSM becomes a national reality. Barack Obama is, for better or worse, a polarizing oppositional figure for some and his endorsement of SSM will only serve to further entrench their opinions rather than a signal for opponents to reconsider their position. This is a process that will take time.
All the same, this is a fine event for each of us to celebrate with the ones we love.