UPDATE: I wrote a longer riff on the same theme for the dead-tree Daily News -- you can read that here.
Look what's happening down in D.C.....Got an evolution (got an evolution!):**
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday ended nearly two years of "evolving" on the issue of same-sex marriage by publicly endorsing it in a television interview, taking a definitive stand on one of the most contentious and politically charged social issues of the day.
"At a certain point, 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," Mr. Obama told ABC News in an interview that came after the president faced mounting pressure to clarify his position.
In an election that is all but certain to turn on the slowly recovering economy and its persistently high jobless rate, Mr. Obama's stand nonetheless injects a volatile social issue into the campaign debate and puts him at even sharper odds with his presumptive Republican rival, Mitt Romney, who opposes same-sex marriage and favors an amendment to the United States Constitution to forbid it.
I have mixed feelings about this for a lot of reasons. I don't think Obama's evolution is that unusual; a lot of the more-than-half of all Americans who support gay marriage -- myself included -- were not so sure just a couple of years ago. (Personally, I think that government should get out of the marriage business altogether and just recognize civil unions for any type of couple, and that marriage should be a social function that includes houses of worship but obviously not limited to just them; it doesn't matter what I think because that's not going to happen). But Obama sure was slow -- I think fish developed legs and walked on land in a shorter period of time.
That's just the Obama we all know and...feel lukewarm about. Just once I'd love to see him out front on a social-justice issue instead of adopting a decent stance after everyone else has spoken out. But that, too, is not going to happen. You could say that Obama is once again leading from behind -- although I wouldn't recommend you do that.