As you know if you read this blog at all, I am a big time proponent of the right for gays to marry whoever they want. I would even say, if I were a cynic and if my marriage was shitty, that gay people should have every right to be just as miserable as the rest of us, only I'm a big believer in the institution and I happen to have a marriage that for the most part is pretty damn great.
So instead I have to just fall back on the old libertarian principle that the sovereignty and liberty of the individual is sacred. Love who you want, live how you want, marry who you want. It is un-American and frankly un-Republican, if you really know what the term republicanism in the United States means, to deny such a fundamental component to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to anyone.
That said, I absolutely refuse to let this issue affect my choice in this presidential election. Mostly because Obama, until a few months ago, was expressly as anti-gay marriage as Romney. Actually, he was even MORE anti-gay marriage as Romney because he had been consistently opposed to it for his entire political career (including over 3 years of his presidency) whereas Romney at one time as a candidate for senate promoted himself as a proponent of gay rights. As Governor of Massachusetts he was firmly against gay marriage but quickly came around on civil unions and was endorsed by the Massachusetts Log Cabin Republicans.
Secondly, it is on it's face absurd to say that this issue is a deal breaker for a presidential candidate. Presidents don't make laws, they sign or veto them. They appoint supreme court justices, but even the most strident conservatives on the bench today say that gay marriage should be decided with a ballot box and not an amendment. A republican congress crafted it and Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage act into law, but what effect did it have really? Many courts have overturned it, more and more states are legalizing gay marriage anyway.
Really, I believe this issue is a big loser for social conservatives, just as abortion is. It's one of those things that in a few years everyone will wonder what all the fuss was about.
The military recently repealed it's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. Obama takes a lot of credit for it, but he actually had little to do with this change. It was the Department of Defense itself that deemed the policy not only antiquated and disruptive, but ant-ethical to the principles of the US military in the first place. Cadets at West Point are drilled relentlessly on the tenets of Code and Honor. To have them encouraged to lie about who they are, that just doesn't wash.
And so it is with the majority of Americans, who apart from social conservatives, see this issue as a matter of people's own business and not the governments.
Those social conservatives, incidentally, as I have pointed out on this blog more than once before, include a big percentage of the African American population. The vast majority of people in California who voted for Obama in 2008 also voted "yes" on Prop. 8.
So no, the righteous indignation of the gay folks on facebook who can't imagine why anyone would vote for Romney because he is a racist, sexist, homophobic baby-eater, don't really persuade me one bit. If anything they make me like Romney more.
Obama made a campaign promise to end discrimination against gays in the military that he failed to keep in that he did very little other than proclaim his desire to see the end of DADT come to pass. Kind of like his latest position on gay marriage - he's got the whole rainbow and unicorn thing going, but just because you click your heels and wish for it doesn't make it happen.
You can't legislate people's hearts, our country will embrace gay marriage at some point - but there is no quick fix, certainly not one a president can manufacture.