the President’s determination that Section 3 is unconstitutional is unquestionably a welcome act of leadership on his part. It also hints at a larger dynamic that’s worth noting. After the President did the right thing and threw his weight behind the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, many argued that his success on that front would only make his position on DOMA less tenable — basic consistency would demand that his administration stop defending it in court.
That’s exactly what happened. Now, in similar fashion, his determination that the key plank of DOMA is unconstitutional may make his current position on the issue — that he’s “grappling” with it — less tenable over time, too. Or, if it doesn’t, it certainly should. After all, the President himself supported gay marriage way back in 1996. So if he again declared support for gay marriage he would merely be coming full circle.
Obviously today’s statement from Carney suggests Obama doesn’t believe it’s politically safe enough (yet) to declare full support for gay marriage. But the overall dynamic is certainly encouraging. The arc of history is bending — albeit slowly — in the right direction.