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When Vice President Joe Biden announced just days ago that he favored gay marriage, and President Obama's people claimed there was no difference in the views of the nation's chief executive and his veep, I knew something was percolating. The president has been very careful over the years to parse his words to keep as many people as possible happy on this issue, but it had become increasingly clear that he couldn't skate by on the issue much longer.
I was surprised that his "evolution" in thinking about and support of same sex marriage came so soon after the Biden's comments, but at the end of the day he and his advisers must have concluded, "What are we waiting for?" So with the presdent's declaration, it appears that his evolution on gay marriage is complete.
Of course, many religious conservatives will express outrage and claim that the president's acceptance of gay marriage signals the end of our civilization as we know it, but it was a long overdue course correction this country needed. In a sense, the decision was a no-brainer -- he was never going to get many votes from the community that opposes gay marriage, but he sure was gambling with losing many long-time supporters if he continued to waffle. Wealthy gay influencers who have long supported the president, especially on the fundraising front, had become increasingly uncomfortable with his reluctance to openly be their ally. And in this year's tight race, the president ultimately must have realized he couldn't alienate that community.
What will his decision mean in the long run? As the president mentioned, marriage is regulated by each state government, so his announcement won't have any influence on what states do. But with Dont Ask, Dont Tell gone, it's likely that if President Obama is re-elected, we will see efforts to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the recognition of same sex marriages for federal purposes, like Social Security survivors' benefits. And while his change of heart didn't come soon enough for North Carolina families, perhaps it will impact the outcome of referenda in other states, like Maryland.
Ultimately, the president had no choice but to get with the times, as my dad might say. Aside from the responsibility President Obama had to his gay supporters, he owed it to his daughters to set an example and do his part to put an end to a debate that is incredibly hurtful to so many American families.
You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of the Amazon bestseller Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. Follow her on Twitter @PunditMom and Facebook!