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Kerry Eleveld: Obama’s Federalism Approach Is Misguided

July 06, 2011 6:31 pm ET by Equality Matters staff

Equality Matters’ own Kerry Eleveld, in a July 6 piece written for The Daily Beast, argues that President Obama’s failure to publicly endorse marriage equality provides political cover to anti-equality politicians while denying the LGBT community some much-needed political leadership:

The president’s posture has roiled some Americans. But others have made the case that far from hamstringing the marriage-equality movement, Obama is helping it by wisely withholding his endorsement as the issue simmers and stews at the state level.


This logic is founded on two misguided assumptions: (1) that if Obama came out for same-sex marriage, the debate at the state level would somehow grind to a screeching halt and (2) that Obama’s position exists outside that deliberation, magically affecting neither the content nor the outcome of the debate.


No one can know for sure the nature of the 2012 election, and certainly Obama’s aides can make a politically homophobic case for not supporting same-sex marriage just as easily as I can do the opposite. But here is what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: making a callous argument to justify a political calculation isn’t advancing equality, it’s delaying it.


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