President Obama has announced his support for same-sex marriage.
How important is this development? How does it change things politically? Culturally? How much of an election issue will it — and should it — be? National Review Online asked the experts.
WILLIAM C. DUNCAN
That the president supports same-sex marriage is not surprising. He and his administration have acted to oppose or undermine marriage laws at every opportunity. This announcement looks more like fessing up than like explaining the end result of soul searching.
It seems unlikely to move the electorate. Voters in California and North Carolina ignored the president’s opposition when approving marriage amendments in their states.
It should be a very significant election issue, though. Legal recognition of same-sex unions has created serious conflicts between religious organizations and individuals and a variety of government entities; and the president has demonstrated willingness (in the context of abortion and contraception) to ride roughshod over religious objections.
The ineluctable logic of marriage redefinition is that men and women are interchangeable, children don’t need either a mother or a father, and those who disagree are either woefully ignorant or (more likely) bigots. By coming clean about his ideological position on marriage, the president has made his attitude clear — the constitutions of 31 states and the statutes of all but six others enshrine atavistic notions about marriage inconsistent with civil-rights guarantees. Voters have seen how the administration treats people it considers discriminators and should be forewarned.
— William C. Duncan is director of the Marriage Law Foundation.