Obama: Prop 8 “Unnecessary,” But Doesn’t Believe In Gay Marriage

Barack Obama‘s walking a fine, gay line.

The Democratic Presidential candidate appeared on MTV this weekend to come out against California’s Proposition 8, which would overturn gay marriage in the Golden State. At the same time, however, Obama reiterated his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Said the Senator from Illinois:

I’ve stated my opposition to this. I think [Prop 8 is] unnecessary. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don’t contract them.

On a related note, the New York Times this Saturday ran an article highlighting the differences between Obama and rival John McCain’s same-sex marriage opposition. While Obama’s motivated more by religious elements, McCain’s a victim of his time. Writes homo-journo Patrick Healy:

As a Christian – he is a member of the United Church of Christ – Mr. Obama believes that marriage is a sacred union, a blessing from God, and one that is intended for a man and a woman exclusively, according to these supporters and Obama campaign advisers. While he does not favor laws that ban same-sex marriage, and has said he is “open to the possibility” that his views may be “misguided,” he does not support it and is not inclined to fight for it, his advisers say.

Senator John McCain also opposes same-sex marriage, but unlike Mr. Obama’s, his position is influenced by generational and cultural experiences rather than a religious conviction, McCain advisers say.

What’s interesting, we think, is that Obama consistently frames his support opposition of Proposition 8 in terms of constitutionality, rather than whether or not gay marriage is right – a tactic that’s quite popular among the center and conservative set. That helps explain Obama’s later comments in which he says he believes in strong civil unions that provide marital rights, like hospital visitations. That believe, he insists, provides a great example of his style of governance:

If they’ve got benefits, they can make sure those benefits apply to their partners. I think that’s the direction we need to go in. I think young people are ahead of the curve on this for the most part. Their attitude, generally, is that we should be respectful of all people, and that’s the kind of politics I want to practice.

Watch the MTV Prop 8 video after the jump…