Nearly two months ago, President Obama told a blogger that his position on gay marriage he publicly supports only civil unions was something that he was "wrestling" with. He even strongly hinted that he would reverse his stance in the future. Of course, since Obama was actually for gay marriage all the way back in 1996, until he ostensibly wasn't, and since he opposed Prop. 8 and is for gay equality in every other aspect, it's fairly obvious that his position right now is that he supports gay marriage. But, from the looks of a new interview with the Advocate, Obama is going to just keep pretending he has yet to be converted, even as he teases an impending announcement of such a conversion.
Mr. President, do you think it’s time that gays and lesbians should be entitled to full marriage rights?
.... [S]ince I've been making a lot of news over the last several weeks, I'm not going to make more news today. The sentiment I expressed then is still where I am—which is, like a lot of people, I'm wrestling with this. My attitudes are evolving on this. I have always firmly believed in having a robust civil union that provides the rights and benefits under the law that marriage does. I've wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.
And squaring that circle is something that I have not done yet, but I'm continually asking myself this question and I do think that—I will make this observation, that I notice there is a big generational difference. When you talk to people who are in their 20s, they don't understand what the holdup is on this, regardless of their own sexual orientation. And obviously when you talk to older folks, then there’s greater resistance.
And so this is an issue that I'm still wrestling with, others are still wrestling with. What I know is that at minimum, a baseline is that there has to be a strong, robust civil union available to all gay and lesbian couples.
Can you imagine a time when you would get there? I mean, you say “evolving,” and that sort of assumes that you get somewhere. Can you imagine a time of getting there?
I'm going to stick with my answer. [Laughter.]
Notice the very first sentence. It's not that there is no news to make, only that Obama doesn't want to make it yet. Will he wait for the presidential campaign, apparently under the belief that it'll be a net political benefit for him? Or will he keep it in his pocket for the next time he compromises with the GOP and his liberal base complains that he's just like George W. Bush?
Obama: "Prepared to Implement" [Advocate]