Obama and What to Do About Gay Rights
Let's just get this right out of the way -- Obama's speech where he noted his "evolved" position on gay marriage didn't change anything, and the fact that Obama has done virtually nothing that gays can claim is exemplary is proof enough to me that he doesn't really support equal rights -- that he does so only because his advisers says he should to gain the "gay vote."
Obama said he thought gays and lesbians should be able to get married, but basically left the matter to the states. He's both correct and incorrect. While the Constitution says nothing about the Federal government having the power to dictate who can get married and who can't, which under the 10th Amendment would then leave such situations to the People and the States, the 14th Amendment says the States must apply the law equally to all persons. That would seemingly mean the states can not deny marriage to homosexuals and allow it to heterosexuals, especially given all the legal protections and economic benefits of being married, such as spousal privilege, next-of-kin status, Social Security benefits etc.
So what should Obama have said? And what is the best way to handle this situation?
If Obama really wanted to advance the fight for equal rights to all, then he should have come out in support of completely separating the religious and civil functions of marriage. Ultimately that's what most people seem to conflate and get hung up on, so it's about time we clearly draw a line between marriage in a church and a marriage license.
Just as the State doesn't care who gets baptized and who doesn't, the State shouldn't care who gets married and who doesn't. That would allow any 2 people (or more, possibly) to register their marriage with the State to receive all of the benefits and responsibilities given to them, and if they are denied, allow the individuals to sue the state under the 14th Amendment. That would leave the religious ceremony of marriage up to the individual religions to handle as they saw fit.
This was a moment the LGBT community, liberals, progressives and civil libertarians should have celebrated. Instead we were witness to a political stunt meant to drum up support for a politician's re-election. And it looks like it worked -- Obama duped a great deal of people into parting with their money in exchange for platitudes.