The interview changes no laws; it has no tangible effect. But it reaffirms for me the integrity of this man we are immensely lucky to have in the White House. Obama’s journey on this has been like that of many other Americans, when faced with the actual reality of gay lives and gay relationships. Yes, there was politics in a lot of it. But not all of it. I was in the room long before the 2008 primaries when Obama spoke to the mother of a gay son about marriage equality. He said he was for equality, but not marriage. Five years later, he sees - as we all see - that you cannot have one without the other. But even then, you knew he saw that woman’s son as his equal as a citizen. It was a moment - way off the record at the time - that clinched my support for him.
I think it’s important to remember that a big part of what makes a leader great is the courage to follow their conscience even if it makes them unpopular. This is what so many people claimed to admire about George W. Bush. There is no massive voting bloc that will be swayed by the president’s decision to back gay marriage. The statistic that kept being repeated this morning was that the nation is split on gay marriage almost 50/50. Frankly, the president didn’t really have to come forward. He didn’t have to do anything. I think he did this because he’s a human being, and a pretty decent one at that.