For the first time in US History, a President has voiced his support for same-sex marriage.
To quote our Vice President, that is a big f'ing deal.
You'll have to excuse me if I don't automatically view our President as a champion for marriage equality. He came into office saying that marriage "was something sanctified between a man and a woman" and sat on that post for three years. You also have to wonder about his new found interest in states' rights, after primarily supporting centralist policies for the majority of his term. But hey, I'm not President and I certainly won't take away from any amount of courage necessary to make this announcement six months before the General Election.
While the President's support may be symbolic (i.e., he will not be in a position to implement policies promoting same-sex marriage), our leaders here in Maryland have a very concrete measure to support. In all likelihood, on November 6, 2012, the voters of Maryland will hold a referendum on the civil rights of our neighbors. The majority will decide whether to "permit" the minority certain rights, namely the right to marry.
We also have a stable of putative leaders that have their eyes set on 2014. Gansler, Ulman, Franchot, Brown. Some are still trying to define themselves on the state level, while others are looking to distinguish themselves from the field. Marriage equality would seem to be that vehicle.
This issue is not without substantial risk. In fact, I would suggest that a logical candidate for the Democratic nomination would allow this cup to pass, but politics isn't logical. Spending millions of dollars in campaign contributions for a job that pays $150,000 is not logical. That makes risk all part of the game.
If (Gansler, Ulman, Franchot, Brown) spends the next six months championing marriage equality, they automatically risk losing a substantial part of the black vote, which was shown in a recent Gonzales poll (PDF) to be 33% in favor and 60% opposed. They also risk looking "foolish", which has more weight than one would presume in political circles, on a losing vote. In politics, it is not better to have loved and lost. It is better to have stayed home. None of these candidates want to be the one at the podium when advocates give their concession speech.
But if the measure stands...well, I would have to imagine that seals your ticket to front-runner status and possible a trip to Annapolis. Political views are stubborn to change, but there is a shift underfoot. In fact, two years from now, especially with the confirmation of same-sex marriage, voters will most likely be strongly in favor of marriage equality. One thing I love about the law is that it often gets out in front of public sentiment. Normally, it requires a true leader to hold that banner.
Finally, a mea culpa. A few months ago I posted about how same-sex marriage was a smoke-screen to allow elected leaders to play freedom fighter while passing harmful taxes and allowing government to grow unchecked. I stand by parts of what I wrote, but not the manner in which I wrote it. I was unfair to those who are affected by these types of laws and felt that regret yesterday when I saw the result from North Carolina. Our friends and neighbors need our support and need the support of our leaders. This is a very real, very present, and very important issue that defines who we are as a Country. I apologize for not seeing that.
(I appear to have gone into a zone and when I came out, it was too late to do much link preparation)
Featured Blog Post of the Day: Staying with the theme of the day, Matt Wilson has "5 Things" to say about same-sex marriage and the President's announcement.
That's all for today. Have a great day doing what you love WITH the people you love!