When President Obama said he wanted to embrace bipartisanship, hugging Gov. Charlie Crist (R-Fla.) isn't what most Americans had in mind. But after his State of the Union headed south, the President decided to follow--joining the slumping Governor in Florida to talk about the administration's new $8 billion high-speed rail project. In an obvious detour, the President made some interesting social policy points during the question and answer portion of a Tampa townhall. A local student took his turn at the microphone, and essentially asked the President whether he would be as committed to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as he is to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The President replied, "Look, as I said last night, my belief is, is that a basic principle in our Constitution is that if you're obeying the law, if you're following the rules, that you should be treated the same, regardless of who you are. I think that principle applies to gay and lesbian couples."
He continued by pumping up the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligation Act (S. 1102 and H.R. 2517), which is winding its way through Congress as we speak. Essentially, the bill would make the same-sex partners of federal employees eligible for the same benefits as married couples. "I think it's the right thing to do," the President said, even though the legislation is a direct strike on DOMA. "... [I]t makes sense for us to take a leadership role in ensuring that people are treated the same. Look... regardless of your personal opinions, the notion that somebody who's working really hard for 30 years can't take their death benefits and transfer them to the person that they love the most in the world and who has supported them all their lives, that just doesn't seem fair. It doesn't seem right."
Actually, what "doesn't seem right" is that the President of the United States is actively backing legislation that disobeys DOMA and devalues marriage. Fortunately, he's solidly in the minority for a cultural shift on marriage. In Indiana, the state Senate is riding the pro-family wave of Maine, New York, and New Jersey and moving quickly to protect marriage with a constitutional amendment. By a 38-10 vote, members passed the ban out of their chamber and into the House, where liberal House Speaker Pat Bauer has traditionally blocked the bill before the people could vote on it. "Some people don't have enough to do creating jobs and moving the economy forward," Bauer said, "so they think up divisive things." Tell that to the White House.