Monday, June 22, 2009

Flip-flopping on gay marriage

Elected officials worry a great deal about changing their minds, to the point that they'll stick with stupid policy positions just to avoid the epithet "flip-flopper." So it was nice to see Chris Dodd (who is facing a difficult reelection next year) do it well (via Atrios):
I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. And as many other Americans have realized as they’ve struggled to reconcile the principle of fairness with the lessons they learned early in life, that’s not an easy thing to overcome.

But the fact that I was raised a certain way just isn’t a good enough reason to stand in the way of fairness anymore. [...]

I believe that, when my daughters grow up, barriers to marriage equality for same-sex couples will seem as archaic, and as unfair, as the laws we once had against inter-racial marriage.

And I want them to know that, even if he was a little late, their dad came down on the right side of history. [...]

I understand that even those who oppose discrimination might continue to find it hard to re-think the definition of marriage they grew up with. I know it was for me.

But many of the things we must do to make our union more perfect – whether it’s fighting for decades to reform our health care system or struggling with a difficult moral question – are hard. They take time. And they require that, when you come to realize that something is right, you be unafraid to stand up and say it.

That’s the only way our history will progress along that long arc towards justice.
Okay, while this is a beautiful statement, there's probably more than a little strategic positioning involved. As Andrew Gelman notes, Connecticut is now one of the few states where a majority favors same sex marriage, and that majority, while slender, appears to be growing quickly. Dodd's position helps him blunt Democratic challenges and potentially makes him more electable, while firing up a donor base that might not have been all that enthused about him.

But man, when did you expect to see a politician coddling gays and lesbians because it was in their electoral interests to do so? This ground is shifting fast.

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