I was glad to see President Obama come out in favor of same-sex marriage last week. Don’t get me wrong—I oppose same-sex marriage myself. But I was glad to see the president’s new candor on display.
Throughout his administration he has acted like a supporter of same-sex marriage, but he has spoken like a man who didn’t have the nerve to own up to his true opinion. It must feel good to be saying what he really thinks. I know I feel better. We can have a fair contest now, in which everyone’s cards are on the table.
One of the president’s cards is that he arrived at his support for same-sex marriage not despite his Christian faith, but because of it. He specifically cited the Golden Rule taught by Jesus in the gospels. I will not turn my attention here to whether the president has offered a coherent, or even plausible, account of the Golden Rule as it pertains to the marriage issue (but here are two
good treatments, in my view). I want to note instead how much damage is done by the president to one of the favorite arguments of supporters of same-sex marriage.
The mere fact that the president claims to have religious reasons—specifically Christian reasons—for supporting same-sex marriage has occasioned some interesting triumphalism in recent days among those who agree with him. Time magazine’s Amy Sullivan had a piece in the pages of the Post that the editors gave the accurate descriptive headline, “Obama’s case for gay marriage shows that invoking faith isn’t just for conservatives anymore.” House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi reportedly said that “my religion compels me” to be for same-sex marriage. (Pelosi has a problem the president can sidestep since, as a Catholic, she is not really in charge of saying what
This article originally appeared on: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/on-gay-marriage-is-obama-imposing-his-religion/2012/05/15/gIQAuuPPSU_blog.html