Marriage Equality and Presidential Character

As you’ve probably heard by now, yesterday President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage. There has been a lot of reaction to this in less than 24 hours. This was to be expected. Most of the reaction I have seen has been positive. Many have congratulated the President for his courageous step, as it represents a political risk. Others have cautiously applauded the President, upset that it took him this long and prodding by VP Biden’s comments on Meet the Press on Sunday.

I, for one, am glad that the President has finally come out in favor of equality, though I was disappointed by his admission that it took him so long because he thought civil unions would be enough. Come on, Mr. President, we all know that “separate but equal,” even by any other name, never works.

There has also been, as was expected, a lot of negative reaction from conservatives, mostly conservative Christians. But conservative Christians bashing the President’s faith is nothing new. One criticism did strike me as rather amusing, though. Al Mohler wrote:

Honesty is the best policy, and the President has now made his position clear. He is again for what he was until today against, but that was only after he was for it before. The American people will have to unravel that as an issue of character.

This is amusing to me because while on the one hand, Obama is guilty of the political flip-flop on this issue with his stance changing when he ran for Senate most likely for political reasons. One the other hand, does Mohler think that his candidate, Mitt Romney, has any character at all? Certainly, the American people will have to “unravel” Obama’s flip-flop as an issue of character. That will take about 2.5 seconds for most Americans and I believe that not many votes will be changed by this announcement. But when it comes to Mitt Romney, I’m not sure there is enough time between now and November for the American people to “unravel” all of his flip-flops and abhorrent lack of character. He too, by the way, professed support for marriage equality in 1994 when running for Senate and when asked about it recently he said that his views had not changed since he began running for office. That’s pretty telling. Moreover, Romney has now said that he’ll “take credit for” the auto bailout that saved the American auto industry when he famously wrote an NYT OpEd titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

So, excuse me as I try to contain my laughter that Al Mohler thinks this is a legitimate chink in Obama’s character when his candidate’s own campaign admitted that his campaign was run like an Etch a Sketch, being able to reset and change at any point. Republicans rightly blasted Romney during the primaries because there seems to be not one single issue that Romney has not flip-flopped on at some point in his political career. Try as Mohler may, “character” is certainly not what the 2012 presidential race will come down to and the GOP won’t let it, because they know Romney has no chance in hell of winning on that front.

4 thoughts on “Marriage Equality and Presidential Character

  1. Your “separate but equal” argument is an interesting one. The thought has crossed my mind that Civil Unions might be the only middle ground that both sides could live with. Christian conservatives get to keep their definition of marriage, while gays get the rights and privileges they’ve been fighting for. And for what its worth, “separate but equal” has been working for decades under different name. After all, (tax-payer funded) collegiate sports have been operating on a separate but equal basis, down to the dollar, since Title 9 was passed in the 70s. Most people, for whatever reason, take at face value that “separate but equal” is evil with respect to race, but necessary with regard to sex. I don’t know how I feel about it.

    As far as the discussion of character goes: if the fate of our country is left to the character of our politicians, we’re in sore shape. Anyone who thinks that this current administration (or any other) operates like an episode of The West Wing, is truly wearing rose-colored glasses, and that Kool-Aid in your stomach may soon turn sour…

  2. I just re-read my comment, and I’m regretting my wording in the last paragraph. I intended it to sound less personal than it does. I meant “your” in the plural sense. And if I had it to do over again I’d soften it a bit. My apologies.

    1. No worries. I took it in a general, plural sense. Both of your points are valid. We do accept some forms of “separate but equal” and not others. And I agree about the character of an administration my main point, though, was that it is a bit ironic to see Mohler making such a claim about Obama when that level of issue so obviously plagues Romney to a much greater degree.

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