Foreigners Try Explaining Why Obama Won’t Support Gay Marriage


Independent columnist Rupert Cornwell: “Thus far, the White House has managed to avoid being drawn into the controversy, maintaining that gay marriage is a matter for individual states to decide. But inevitably the focus is switching to the federal level as well, as activists demand the repeal of the Defence of Marriage Act passed by Congress in 1996 but opposed by Obama, which barred the federal government from recognising gay marriages and removed from one state any obligation to recognise a gay marriage conducted in another. Obama has every reason to tread carefully. Back in 1993 Bill Clinton got off to a terrible start as president when he chose to wade into the gays-in-the-military controversy. His successor but one already has enough on his plate. If he espouses the gay marriage cause he risks losing centrist support and creating exactly the sort of distraction that cost Clinton so dear. The same goes if Obama bows to the pressure of activists and appoints a first openly gay justice to fill the impending vacancy on the Supreme Court. For the moment, though, these issues seem prepared to wait – as well they might. Not only does Obama like to play the long game. If gay marriage is indeed turning into a civil rights struggle, history’s lesson is that such struggles take decades to win.” [Independent]