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Friday, May 29

Another Prop 8 postscript

On his blog, the Guardian's Michael Tomasky asks 'Does Barack Obama believe in gay marriage?'

I know he's officially against it. But I'm asking you -- as a matter of personal belief, like if he were just a highly successful lawyer in Chicago rather than the president of the Yew-nited States -- do you think he'd be for, or on some personal level he won't discuss currently is in fact, a gay marriage supporter?
Here's what I think.

There are some rumours that he'll make a major statement around the Stonewall 40th anniversary. There's a real head of steam grassroots movement getting going and it's only going to get angrier - including with those telling them to be quiet and patient such as the Washington gay lobbyist types who many blame for the Prop 8 loss. He will throw out a bone.

I doubt there's not quiet pressure as well as the Democrats have high profile gay supporters - think what happened when entertainment mogul and major fundraiser David Geffen was snubbed by Bill Clinton and early and very publicly supported Obama - but it would be on gays-in-the-military, Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), not gay marriage.

As Nate Silver points out, the latter will steadily make its way across the country (see this post on the metrics of that). The former has overwhelming support in the country with only some of the military bureaucrats and top brass are, I think, seriously able to delay it for that much longer through keeping Obama's ear, as appears to be the case at the moment.

A more serious issue is the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA, a Bill Clinton legacy), as I'd bet repeal might not even get through the Senate at the moment - remember, Hillary fudged it during the campaign and it's the bluedogs (right leaning democrats) who have the balance of power - and in reality a lot of practical change flows from getting rid of that.

On where his true belief is, who knows. But I do believe that when he first stood for election in Illinois he said he supported gay marriage, so the change of stance tells you a lot. It's all politics.
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