Thought of the Day: Marc Ambinder

marc1“It’s tough to be a Republican presidential candidate and try to handle the gay issue. [Former MA Governor Mitt] Romney was caught in a trap of sorts.It’s true that he never unambiguously supported civil unions; he ran for governor opposing both gay marriage and civil unions while favoring domestic partnership agreements.

Of course, it seems quaint now, but in pre-gay marriage Massachusetts, the idea of granting reciprocal rights to same-sex couples was considered progressive for a Republican. Later, the issue of marriage equality became the sine qua non of the gay rights movement — thanks largely to the Massachusetts Goodrich decision.

Civil unions were a term of art used to refer to the arrangements that Vermont’s legislature had made to comply with a state supreme court decision of their own); the implication, though, was what Romney’s “domestic partnership” support was equivalent to a the support of civil unions, at least as a concept…

In defense of Romney and others, though, the terrain on gay rights has been shifting so fast that most politicians in the middle have been caught out in the cold — both moderate Republicans who find their “progressiveness” on gay issues is no longer so compelling to LGBT voters, and moderate Democrats who find themselves on the wrong side of a signal civil rights issue.

(To that end, Obama will be probably be the last Democratic presidential nominee to oppose same-sex marriage.)”– The Atlantic columnist Marc Ambinder reflecting on Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s decision to support civil unions and what it means for future political races.