Here at THE WEEKLY STANDARD we are prostrate with admiration! President Obama's sudden reversal of opinion on gay marriage was, by any measure, an incredibly gutsy thing to do.
Of course, the fact that he had publicly opposed gay marriage since running for the Senate in Illinois, but now found himself estranged from elite opinion within his own party, could not possibly have affected his attitude. This is a president who says what he thinks, lets the chips fall where they may, follows his instincts, pushes the envelope, thinks outside the box, and never lets anything like politics harm the machinery of his conscience. His views have been slowly but inexorably "evolving" on the issue of gay marriage, and it is highly unlikely that today's announcement was prompted by external events, such as yesterday's gay marriage referendum in North Carolina.
So how courageous is the president's change of mind? This now puts Barack Obama in the same reviled category as the Hollywood elite, the New York Times editorial page, the American professoriat, his Wall Street fundraising bundlers, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, readers of the Nation, the cast and crew of The Daily Show, and the majority of residents on New York’s Upper West Side. And lest we forget: He now risks the wrath of zealots, extremists, partisans, and ideologues.
And once again, this president has made history. As Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos of ABC pointed out in reporting the news, Barack Obama is now the first president of the United States to publicly endorse same sex marriage. Serious students of history will recall that James Madison fought in Philadelphia to get same sex marriage sanctioned in the Constitution, and both Woodrow Wilson and Dwight D. Eisenhower came close to publicly embracing the concept. But Obama is the first president to risk everything—including his own political future—to do what's right.