by Brandon McGinley

In perhaps the least surprising political development of this cycle, President Obama has announced that he now supports same-sex “marriage,” saying: “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”  Although pundits and the public alike have long suspected that this is the President’s actual position (he said so himself in 1996), the real surprise is that the charade has been dropped before the end of his re-election campaign.

The conventional wisdom is that Obama and his advisers believed that SSM is an electoral loser, and so one reaction to yesterday’s news might be that the behind-the-scenes political calculations have changed, and SSM is now expected to help the President at the polls.  But Tuesday’s landslide 61% victory in favor of marriage in battleground North Carolina belies this.  More likely is this: the financial pressure from wealthy gay donors could no longer be withstood.  The Washington Post reports that 1 in 6 of the President’s best fundraisers (‘bundlers’) are gay, and that several leading donors were withholding funds due to Obama’s insufficiently “pro-gay” agenda.  Zeke Miller at BuzzFeed reports, bluntly, that “gay marriage reversal means cash for Obama.”  He writes: “Indeed, top gay donors have been using their expensive access to bend Obama’s ear on the issue for years. Some now feel that their specific pleas have been answered.”  Now, the radical gay lobby will have more “expensive access” than ever in the White House.

Perhaps the best analysis of the announcement comes from Matthew Schmitz in the First Thoughts blog for First Things magazine:

President Obama, for all his accomplishments, is not a moral theologian, a religious leader, or even (whatever some have thought) a prophet. He is a politician responding, reasonably enough, to political pressures. The impatience of the well-connected and wealthy gay lobby in the Democratic party forced the president’s hand. To call his move “courageous”—or to call “oppressed” the gay citizens whose outsize purchasing power and political influence has propelled their cause—is a long stretch indeed.

My advice to the president is that he lead those who agree with him in arguing civilly, that he examine the views of his opponents without resorting to charges of bigotry or bad faith. This is not a plea; it is a warning. If the Democratic party decides to declare war on religious institutions and private citizens who recognize the natural truth of marriage, it will have a very messy fight on its hands.

Given the President’s willingness to declare war on religious institutions and individual conscience rights in implementing his health care bill, should we expect more circumspect leadership this time around?  The fact of the matter is that establishment leaders of the SSM movement have already declared war on religious institutions and persons.  Witness Obama Equal Employment Opportunity Commission appointee Chai Feldblum, from R. R. Reno’s indispensable First Things article on the implications of comparing the sexual libertinism movement to the civil rights movement:

[W]hen asked her opinion on the conflict between homosexual rights and the moral commitments of religious institutions she insisted that “in almost all cases sexual liberty should win, because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.”

When the invented right of a tiny minority to have their private sexual lifestyles enshrined in law conflicts with the foundational right of religious liberty, ‘gay rights’ wins, according to the SSM establishment whose money and influence course through the veins of the Obama White House.

These are the stakes of the marriage battle, and of the upcoming election.  Here in Pennsylvania, a commonwealth founded on the promise of religious liberty, we have the opportunity to reaffirm that heritage by declining to re-elect a president who, along with his radical allies, threatens it.