Dan Savage on Obama’s “for it before he was against it” position on gay marriage:
Before I risk publicly disagreeing with “some strategists” let me say with this: I think the president should come out in support of marriage equality. I think everyone should. And I believe Obama supported marriage equality in 1996, and I think he supports it now. But I also believe that Barack Obama will pay a political price—a potentially determinative price—if he endorses marriage equality before the 2012 election. Because Republicans who support marriage equality aren’t going to vote for Barack Obama in 2012 just because he came out for marriage equality. But Democrats who don’t support marriage equality are likely to vote againstObama if he does.
Obama’s team, I expect, realizes this (they’re probably polling it as I type), and their mission is to get the president reelected. Our mission is to secure our full civil equality and I don’t see how a Romney/Bachmann administration gets us closer to that goal. The country is moving our way, time is on our side, and I expect that Obama’s kabuki evolution will pick up a serious head of steam sometime in January of 2013. Who knows? The president could wind up evolving all the way back to 1996.
But there will be no evolutionary leaps between now and November of 2012.
The whole thing is worth a read, because it’s an example of how to be a solid advocate for your position without losing sight of political reality. I’ll just add that letting a Republican get anywhere near a Supreme Court appointment in the next few years would be devastating. Imagine another Thomas or Scalia replacing Ginsberg.