Maybe that was true in the past. But the ground is shifting. Does Obama really think he is fooling independents and moderate voters by holding out for civil unions?
By pushing for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Obama made his broad sympathies relatively clear.
He has instructed the Department of Justice to do nothing to defend the odious Defense of Marriage Act, which denies same-sex couples working for the federal government -— legally married or not — a host of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
Repealing the measure is, at the moment, a political impossibility. But there is little doubt about where Obama stands.
Some political experts say that Obama runs the risk of alienating conservative black ministers who oppose gay marriage. Maybe he does. But, given Obama's track record, do those ministers really think the president is in their misguided camp? Who matters more? The ministers or their congregants? Will African-American voters pitch their lot with Republican Mitt Romney based on this issue alone?
It hardly seems likely.
But what is certain is that, despite recent setbacks such as North Carolina's vote this week reaffirming its opposition to same-sex marriage, the idea of marriage equality for all grows increasingly acceptable, even popular. A majority of Americans favor gay marriage.
It is time for Obama to stop calculating and start leading. The moment is now.
: The Editorial Page
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