Wither Gavin Newsom: What Happened to America’s Gay Marriage Mascot?

It’s sort of sad to Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco and at one time this country’s most recognizable face in the gay marriage movement, be reduced to bystander status as the march for equality charges on.

“The mayor who staked his career on giving equal rights to gays may have to settle for paving the way,” opines Maureen Dowd. “The lawyers get praised, but he got pilloried?”

Which is semi-accurate. Ted Olson and David Boies will, if Perry succeeds in Newsom’s city, receive much of the credit for helping enact marriage equality. And without Newsom granting marriage licenses in San Francisco before a court halted him, we might not be here today, with the lawsuits headed from the California Supreme Court to the federal Ninth Circuit and, soon, to the Supreme Court.

But Newsom also, in crafting his since-failed gubernatorial run against AG Jerry Brown, distanced himself from the gay marriage issue. Not because he stopped believing in what was right, but because he couldn’t afford to be known as a one-issue politician. Which is true: he couldn’t. Except now it’s coming around to bite him, and his legacy, in the ass.