Keller @ Large: What Took So Long?

BOSTON (CBS) – Who knows what political calculations and pressures led to President Obama’s announcement yesterday that he’s undergone a “evolution” from opponent of same-sex marriage to supporter?

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

I guarantee you, it’s naïve to swallow his claim that he came to this epiphany strictly through conversations with friends and family.

Jimmy Carter got in political trouble many years ago for claiming that his focus on the nuclear arms race was prompted by comments from his 13-year-old daughter Amy, and I doubt Mr. Obama would care to repeat that fiasco.

It’s seems likely to me that the president’s change of heart reflects the intersection of his own inner beliefs and political reality, given the flak he’s been taking from liberals and gay donors.

But the question about his conversion isn’t “what happened,” it’s “what took so long?”

It’s been eight years almost to the date since same-sex marriage was legalized here in Massachusetts.

I recall a long interview I did during the battle over it with then-Governor Mitt Romney, who struggled painfully to justify his claim that allowing it would damage heterosexual marriages.

We now know, of course, that the claim was ludicrous.

And I have never understood why conservatives, who insist – correctly in my view – that the legal responsibilities and social commitment of stable marriage forms a key underpinning of civil society, would prefer to see same-sex couples live in “sin” rather than commit to those responsibilities and that stability.

I also have no problem with religions that don’t accept gay marriage continuing to pursue their beliefs, and if their rights have been abridged in any way by what we did here, I’ve never heard about it.

But the bottom line is, there never was a really good argument against gay marriage.

The president has come in from the cold on this one.

And if it’s more a matter of political calculation than true moral tolerance, that’s fine.  Elected leaders are supposed to respond to what reality is telling them.

And the reality of gay marriage where it’s been legalized has proven to be the best possible argument for allowing it everywhere.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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