More analysis and reaction to President Obama coming out for gay marriage

By on May 10, 2012

Two days after President Obama told ABC News he supported gay marriage, the debate rages:

Josh Barro insists that marriage is a federal issue:

Some portion of marriage policy can be left up to the states. But gay marriage is also very much a federal issue requiring federal policy solutions. In the coming months, Barack Obama will need to address them, whether he wants to or not.

Ross Douthat gives the marriage equality movement credit:

As a gay marriage skeptic, I’m obviously on what’s likely to be the losing end of this shift. But as an observer of politics and culture —and someone who thinks that moral absolutisms have an important place in both — I can’t help but be impressed by the gay marriage movement’s ability to transform the terms of the marriage debate so completely and comprehensively. Politics is mostly the art of fighting over a muddled middle ground, but this is the way the world gets well and truly changed: Not through conciliation, but through conquest.

First Read notes Mitt Romney didn’t look like someone thinking that President Obama backing same-sex marriage was an automatic help for him politically.

“The challenge for Romney in next 48 hours will be making sure that the same thing that happened on contraception doesn’t happen on gay marriage. He doesn’t need the Rush Limbaughs of the world going bonkers on this today and Romney having to defend comments from the rhetorical extremes. That’s Romney’s internal challenge – and one he has little control over — that his party doesn’t go down the rabbit hole on this.”

Major Garrett believes Obama wins by talking about gay marriage:

“In the zero-sum world of what’s likely to be an airtight campaign, any day Obama can redirect the national conversation away from the economy is a good day in Chicago and a bad day in Boston. Romney can’t get back the last three days and will probably lose most of Thursday in the analytical aftermath of Obama’s embrace of gay marriage.”

Alex Koppelman analyzes the Republican response:

They can say that he should be spending more time on jobs, say that he’s just trying to distract us. They can call him a flip-flopper. They wouldn’t be wrong to call him that—but that’s what you do when you’d really rather not debate your opponent on the merits of his argument. And it’s what most top Republicans are doing, thus far—that is, when they’re commenting at all.

Stephen Miller won’t give up on the GOP:

The fact that today’s Republican party staunchly opposes gay equality should signal that this is where our efforts should be focused.

Andrew Sullivan takes exception with Mitt Romney’s statement – highlighted in a new Obama video — that we should not discard 3,000 years of history of marriage:

“Ahem. His own family were ardent polygamists only a century ago — and went to Mexican colonies to escape US federal oppression of their version of marriage (which also goes back a long, long way and still exists across the world). Romney’s great-grandparents were polygamists; one of his his great-great-grandfathers had twelve wives and was murdered by the husband of the twelfth. For Romney to say that the definition of marriage has remained the same for 3,000 years is disproved by his own family. It’s untrue. False. A lie.”

Rob Tisinai trashes Obama’s support of marriage equality federalism:

If Barack Obama, a professor of Constitutional Law, were on the Supreme Court, he would vote against us. Obama supports same-sex marriage, but he sees no Constitutional mandate. He thinks we should be treated equally, but he sees no Constitutional mandate. When it comes to this groundbreaking case, Barack Obama — believe it or not — is on the side of Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, and the National Organization for Marriage.

Michael Tomasky gives the president free advice:

[T]his is what Obama needs to do: When the subject turns to this issue, he needs to make sure that Americans know that Romney opposes even civil unions, and that he would seek to outlaw gay marriage across the country, and he needs to make Romney defend those positions. Obama, in contrast, can say: “Hey, look, I took a personal position. I’m not trying to make Alabama or Oklahoma do anything they don’t want to do. But you, sir, would take already-won rights away from gay couples whose unions are now recognized in a number of states.” And then he drops this bomb: “My position is no different from Dick Cheney’s. Is he outside the mainstream?”

Pejman Yousefzadeh gives the president qualified praise:

[L]et’s not pretend that this was a moment in which Barack Obama strode to the mountaintop and courageously called for equal rights for same sex couples on his own initiative. That did not happen. The president was pushed and dragged to the mountaintop. That kind of thing happens a lot in civil rights struggles, so it may not be the world’s biggest deal. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the fact that it happened in this instance.

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