After conservative Republicans bloodied his nose in 1994, Bill Clinton had to fake up an interest in “traditional values.” Out of this phoniness came his hasty signing of the Defense of Marriage Act. A defensive Clinton told the press during his 1996 reelection campaign: “I remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. This has been my long-standing position, and it is not being reviewed or reconsidered.”
No longer needing to sustain this sham, Clinton has now unburdened himself of his true thoughts about gay marriage: “I personally support people doing what they want to do…I think it’s wrong for someone to stop someone else from doing that.”
“Yeah,” Clinton says he supports it, which delights gay activists who note that he joins the ranks of other “high-profile” Democratic proponents of it, such as Senators Chuck Schumer and Chris Dodd.
The Democratic Party’s official and obviously brittle and insincere opposition to gay marriage crumbles by the week. “We’ll get there,” Teresa Heinz Kerry promised gay activists in San Francisco back in 2004, and time has proven her right, as more and more Dems, judging that the political and cultural coast for gay marriage is now clear, don’t even bother to defend that gnarled platform plank.
Clinton’s “frank” throat-clearing about an “evolving” position on gay marriage can provide talking-points to other prominent Dems eager to reverse their nominal opposition. Clinton has cited, as the cause of his new enlightenment, the edifying learning experience of watching his homosexual friends take care of tots; this apparently sounds better to him than having to admit that he was fibbing opposition all along.
Turning hot water up gradually without the frogs jumping out is tricky, but Obama seems to think that he can also pull it off. It won’t be long before his support for “robust civil unions,” an inching euphemism towards gay marriage he likes, gives way to a “frank” Clinton-style reappraisal and endorsement of gay marriage in all 50 states.
The American people, after all, can be cajoled out of their “worn arguments and old attitudes,” he implied at the White House’s “LGBT” reception in late June.
“Welcome to your White House,” Obama burbled, adding an oblique promise of support for every item on the LGBT agenda, including gay marriage: “We’ve been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.”
By the end of Obama’s probable second term, his justices will almost certainly have uncorked some bogus constitutional right to gay marriage discovered within the penumbras of Lawrence v. Texas. At which point, Obama, drawing upon the faux-pained honesty he has perfected, can regurgitate what he wrote in his memoirs: that he was once on “the wrong side of history” but has now happily come into the light.
The construction of his position on gay marriage in The Audacity of Hope is comically passive, salted with several I’m-eager-to-be-wrong-here qualifiers: “In years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history” and “I was reminded that it is my obligation not only as an elected official in a pluralistic society, but also as a Christian, to remain open to the possibility that my unwillingness to support gay marriage is misguided.”
It is hard to describe what’s happening on this rapidly-moving front as a “culture war,” since that implies two sides are fighting. Are there even two sides to make a war at this point? It appears, with a few conservative exceptions here and there, that only one side is fighting — the left; the PC oafs in the Republican Party could not care less.
Perhaps 2010 prospects may rouse a momentary interest in exploiting the issue politically, but morally and culturally they just don’t care. Gay activists noted with some satisfaction that Bill Clinton actually arrived at his position later than a Republican eminence, Dick Cheney.