It is a political ploy.
Of that, I’m fairly convinced.
President Barack Obama became the first president to endorse marriage equality Wednesday. But, of course, it wasn’t the first time Obama has endorsed marriage equality. About 15 years ago, Obama described his position this way: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
In the intervening years, he changed his tune, hewing toward a more conservative position the closer he got to the presidency. As the years of his first-term ticked off, he worked for LGBT equality in ways other than the Holy Grail of same-sex marriage, including extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees and repealing DADT. He began to say that his position was evolving. In reality, it was regressing to his original position.
So, as the election season ramps up, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to understand Obama’s support for marriage equality as a political ploy, a strategic decision meant to energize both his voting and financial base. There will no doubt be people to cast his support as equivocation, pandering and shameless.
Go ahead and let them, because we know the truth of it.
Yes, it’s a political ploy. There’s no shame in admitting it either.
Because no matter how politically motivated his endorsement of marriage equality may be, Obama still did what no other president has done, what very few politicians have done.
He endorsed marriage equality without equivocation.
Don’t let the political timing of his announcement limit the recognition that this is a profound moment of justice and liberation coming not from activists but from the highest office in our country.
For once, the voice of liberation is the voice of the President.