There are days I have been critical of this President. Today is not one of them.
Today, President Obama became the first sitting president to support gay marriage. Perhaps prompted by some members of his administration– both the Vice President and Secretary of Education came out in support of gay marriage this week– the President told ABC News that he supports gay marriage and gave his reasoning for it. President Obama said:
It's interesting, some of this is also generational. You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same-sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation, that they believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we're talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently. It doesn't make sense to them and, frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.
Although such a pronouncement will likely only hurt him politically– in states he won in 2008 like North Carolina which voted in favor of defining marriage between a man and woman yesterday– I applaud the president for sharing his view, especially when in a close race, it could cost him the election.
Personally, I have always strongly supported protecting marriage. I believe protecting marriage is allowing people who love each other the ability to marry. I submit that a gay couple who is willing to fight against hatred and bigotry for their right to marry has more strength and love between them than a heterosexual couple that can legally marry in Las Vegas on a drunk whim.
Being the father of two, my wife and I often discuss our children with our friends. When we get together with friends who are same sex couples, our conversations about our children– about our frustrations and love for them– are exactly the same as the conversations we have with friends in "traditional" marriages.
Then it hit me that there is a discussion that we can’t have with them. My marriage is sanctioned by our state; theirs isn’t. For the most part, my wife and I do not get looks for being in our relationship; they do. Simply going to the hospital and sitting with a sick loved one is different and can be made difficult. So there are things that although I can discuss with my friends– I won’t understand. I won’t understand the difficulty that my friends encounter doing routine things. I won’t understand the randomness of a situation when hatred might become an issue at the grocery store or some other random place. That people are willing to devote themselves to each other despite these societal difficulties should be celebrated. To love someone else so much that you’re willing to swim against the stream to devote yourself to another should define all that is right about marriage.
So, today I applaud President Obama. I applaud him because his position and his words gives a precious little victory for people who have been fighting for legitimacy and recognition from the state. One day– hopefully soon– he will prove to be on the right side of history.