“Notwithstanding a comically fawning press” writes Charles Krauthammer this morning about the president’s sudden switch on gay marriage, “Obama knows he has boxed himself in.”
In his op-ed, the sage pundit talks about two arguments for gay marriage, Argument A, empathy, and Argument B, rights, and the president’s muddled position as he tries to straddle the two, first the former when he first announced his new position, then “five days later” moving on “to adopt Argument B, calling gay marriage a great example of ‘expand[ing] rights‘ and today’s successor to civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights”:
Problem is: It’s a howling contradiction to leave up to the states an issue Obama now says is a right. And beyond being intellectually untenable, Obama’s embrace of the more hard-line “rights” argument compels him logically to see believers in traditional marriage as purveyors of bigotry. Not a good place for a president to be in an evenly divided national debate that requires both sides to offer each other a modicum of respect.
It’s Krauthammer. Read the whole thing.
NB: Am working on a post to address the argument that even if Obama is not sincere about his switch on gay marriage, it’s good to have the president speak out on the topic. In this post, I will note the several arguments, gay marriage advocates make for expanding the definition of this ancient institution and address why Obama’s approach is so unsatisfying.
Although I often agree with Krauthammer and share his views about Obama trying to straddle the issue here, I believe there are more than just two types of arguments for gay marriage.