President Obama’s support for gay marriage marks the end of an evolution for the president and, to an extent, for the country. Obama based his change of heart on simple fairness — “when I think of members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think of soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors. . .” — and that is the crux of the matter: Respect for the principle of equal treatment, and an acknowledgment that the human yearning for love can lead to an equally human yearning for family.
Obama’s comments clarified mixed signals by his administration, and quelled growing unhappiness among gay advocates. But they came at some political risk, on the day after voters in the swing state of North Carolina approved a sweeping anti-gay marriage referendum by a 61-39 margin.