Why my initial thoughts on the Obama gay marriage announcement are wrong

Yesterday, Barack Obama declared that his position on gay marriage has evolved, and where once he thought civil unions were sufficient, he’s decided, rightly, that they are not, and has made possibly the clearest and most supportive statement on the matter that any president has ever made.

Critics have contended that civil unions are another way of saying “separate but equal”, only, you know, without the “equal” part. It is effectively a form of soft bigotry to say that one type of life partner contract is allowed to be called “marriage” while this other type is not, for reasons completely unfathomable to anyone but the theists who draw the line in the sand at their personal definition of marriage — a relationship sanctified by a member of their clergy and thus accepted in the eyes of God. There are, of course, legal ramifications as well, but people seem to care more about their precious words.

And while many individual members of many religious organizations would have no problem with declaring that their God has no problem with gays getting married, others obviously find it some sort abomination, owing to their particular readings of the religious traditions they hold dear. The parallels with the religiously-motivated opposition to interracial marriage are obvious and palpable. With good reason — the situations are practically identical.

Despite this good news, my initial reaction — and I suspect many of your initial reactions as well — were deeply cynical.
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