Ever since President Obama first rose to national prominence, his tepid advocacy for gay rights and avowed—if unconvincing—opposition to gay marriage stood as a monument to the evils of political posturing. Here was a candidate who appeared to share the same liberal social and cultural values as the young voters he so effortlessly enraptured. His own struggle with identity and deliberately cosmopolitan outlook seemed to suggest a man whose vision was unclouded by the baseless, putatively religious aversion to homosexuality that still informed the views of so many politicians. All this, in addition to the president’s 1996 statement in support of same-sex marriage, made his supposed opposition to marriage equality seem perplexing at best and deliberately deceptive at worst.
It seemed clear enough that President Obama was obfuscating his position in order to hold together a fragile political coalition that included important groups who have never shared young voters’ support for gay rights. It was realpolitik, and it was a bitter pill to swallow—but we swallowed it.
This week, however, everything changed. On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden—either getting “over his skis”, or deliberately testing the water for the administration—broke with official policy and endorsed gay marriage. The next day, Secretary of Education Arne S. Duncan ’86came out in favor of marriage equality. Then, on Tuesday, North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages as well as civil unions. Suddenly, President Obama’s dissimulation on marriage equality seemed both absurd and harmful. No doubt knowing he could delay the issue no longer, President Obama arranged an interview on ABC in which he affirmed his support for same-sex marriage.
Although it is terribly unfortunate that the president ever chose to feign opposition to marriage equality, it is nevertheless extremely heartening that, as of Wednesday, the president of the United States of America, for the first time in history, supports true equality for gay Americans. This also provides voters with a starker choice in November’s election, considering that Mitt Romney has reaffirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage and allegedly bullieda classmate, whom he suspected of being gay, in high school.
Despite occasional setbacks like what occurred in North Carolina on Tuesday, it is clear that the direction of cultural shift is toward marriage equality in America. The most recent Gallup poll on the subject shows that seventy percent of 18-34 year-olds think gay marriage should be legal, while fifty-three percent of 35-54 year olds support marriage equality as well. These numbers are growing and ought to give hope and comfort to all those who care about equality for all. Now that we have a president who supports marriage equality, it is just a matter of time before the winds of change overcome the inertia of baseless stigma and irrational hatred.
A Country TornThe defeat of Ignatieff and his Liberal Party is, indeed, a sad moment in Canada’s narrative not only for what it signifies politically, but also because it shows a widespread fear of progress.
A New Path for Venezuelathan anyone had previously, 10 points still represents a gap of over one million votes. If anything, we can expect Chavez to be even bolder in this next term, as he will use his victory as a way to legitimize his “Bolivarian Revolution.”
Baseball Heads South To Face OwlsThis weekend sees the Harvard Baseball team traveling to Houston, Tex. to take on the No. 27 Rice Owls in a trio of fixtures spread over three days. It marks another stop on the Crimson’s customary annual tour of the South before Ivy League play begins on Mar. 30 against Columbia. On its travels so far, the team has played in both Virginia and South Carolina.