President Obama just acknowledged the obvious, that he supports gay marriage. Everybody knows that this has been the case, but the president had adopted a politically expedient position that became untenable within his own party.
From a pure political standpoint, this was a wise decision. His hand was forced by Vice President Biden, but it was inevitable that the president was going to face intense pressure from liberal activists to end the charade. The president’s campaign is aware that it suffers from a lack of enthusiasm from its own supporters. At least now he can count on renewed intensity from most gay and lesbian voters and some younger and moderate voters who sympathize with their gay friends.
I give the president credit for his honesty and how quickly he dealt with the issue. It creates one more clear division that voters will use to judge between him and Mitt Romney in November. It’s not irrelevant that the president did this the day after North Carolina voted to forbid gay marriage. North Carolina is an important state that Obama won in 2008 and would like to win again, but he does not have to do so in order to achieve the 270 electoral votes he needs to be reelected.
At the Romney campaign headquarters, they are not celebrating the President’s announcement. Romney will face renewed pressure to recommit himself and to state clearly why he is against gay marriage. It’s hard to believe, but within the GOP, there could be Cheney Republicans vs. Bush Republicans on a social issue. Every Republican leader is going to have to change or recommit to his or her current position between now and the election.