President Obama Does The Right Thing on Gay Marriage

by Jamison Koehler on May 10, 2012

Leadership is doing what you believe is right no matter what the political costs may be. President Obama may have waffled over gay marriage.  He may have sent out his Vice President to test the waters first.  But in the end he did the right thing.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 798 N.E. 2d 941 (2004), remains for me the most eloquent and persuasive legal argument in support of gay marriage.  A key excerpt is below.

The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society.  For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. .

Many people hold deep-seated religious, moral and ethical convictions that marriage should be limited to the union of one man and one woman, and that homosexual conduct is immoral.  Many hold equally strong religious, moral, and ethical convictions that same-sex couples are entitled to be married, and that homosexual persons should be treated no differently than their heterosexual neighbors.  Neither answers the question before us.  Our concern is with the Massachusetts Constitution as a charter of governance for every person properly within its reach.  “Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code” . . .

Barred access to the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership on one of our community’s most rewarding and cherished institutions.  That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law.

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