May 11, 2012

Obama Evolves to Support Same-Sex Marriage

ObamaI have made it no secret that I am quite disappointed with many of the policies President Obama's administration has supported. I have written about this quite a bit over at Red State Progressive, including how I'm not at all sure I could vote for him a second time. But setting that aside - or perhaps because of it - I feel that it is important to note that I applaud his recent statement of support for same-sex marriage. His administration's policies have been fairly good with regard to LGBT rights, and it is nice to see that he's finally willing to express support for equal rights.

Of all the reactions I've read to Obama's announcement, the one I felt best captured by feelings was from Glenn Greenwald (Salon):
When it comes to assessing a politician, what matters, at least to me, are actions, not motives. If they do the wrong thing, they should be criticized regardless of motive; conversely, if they do the right thing, they should be credited. I’ve had zero tolerance over the last three years for people who pop up to justify all the horrible things Obama has done by claiming that he is forced to do them out of political necessity or in cowardly deference to public opinion; that’s because horrible acts don’t become less horrible because they’re prompted by some rational, self-interested political motive rather than conviction. That’s equally true of positive acts: they don’t become less commendable because they were the by-product of political pressure or self-preservation; when a politician takes the right course of action, as Obama did today, credit is merited, regardless of motive.
Like Greenwald, I have been frustrated with those who seem to support Obama no matter what policies he implements, defending even the most egregious assaults on civil liberties by arguing that it isn't as bad as what someone else would do. I find this almost delusional. However, I think that this statement of support for same-sex marriage is an example of something positive that should be acknowledged as such.