On Wednesday, after years of claiming that his view was “evolving,” President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage. Oddly, the catalyst for that decision was probably his opponent for the presidency, Mitt Romney. Social issues weren’t expected to intrude on a campaign supposed to be all about the economy. But last week, Romney’s openly gay foreign policy spokesman, Richard Grenell, resigned, implying that social conservatives had driven him out of the job, which thrust the issue into the campaign and led to Vice President Joe Biden’s saying on “Meet the Press” that he supported same-sex marriage.
At that point, Obama’s fate was sealed. Maintaining his opposition to marriage equality would only have exacerbated an awkward divide on an issue of mounting importance to his party.