Obama supports same-sex marriage, cites states' rights

Yes, President Obama finally let the nation in on secret we already knew: He supports gay marriage. “For me personally,” Obama told ABC News — a day after North Carolina voted to ban gay marriage, “it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” (Well, yes, everything you believe Mr. President, you “personally” believe.)

The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. But he said he’s confident that more Americans will grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters’ comfort with the concept.

Depite his evolution on the matter, Obama contends that he still supports states’ right to decide the issue. So perhaps one day someone covering the White House can ask Jay Carney or the president why gay marriage deserves special consideration? Even Adam Sewer at the hopelessly left-wing Mother Jones correctly notes: “Obama has endorsed marriage equality federalism—not the notion that marriage for gays and lesbians is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution that can never be taken away.”

Which begs an obvious question: If Obama has endorsed federalism and believes that states have the right to define marriage, then why doesn’t he support the ability of states to extricate themselves from Obamacare? Why don’t states have the right to dictate their immigration laws? And does he “personally” believe that states should be able decide the issue of abortion? Roe v. Wade exists, but so does the Defense of Marriage Act.

We might find a clue to his thinking in this 2009 the New York Times piece, “Obama Seems to Be Open to a Broader Role for States.” In it we learn of a new theory called “progressive federalism.” This is how it works: the president allows “California and other states to set their own limits on greenhouse gases from cars and trucks” because, presumably, he agrees with the policies that are being implemented and there is no political price to pay. But when your state passes an immigration law that the administration disapproves of, well, the Justice Department sues. Progressive federalism. 

Whatever you think of gay marriage — and I’ve long taken the position that government should get out of the marriage business altogether — if federalism can apply here, why not elsewhere?