Though personally appalled by Obama's campaign stance against gay marriage, I believe if he'd openly backed it he may not have won the primary, never mind the general election.
Sure, a stand for gay marriage would've made a brave statement. But it wouldn't have won Obama any votes, as he already had an overwhelming lead amongst very liberal voters. However, in the toss-up swing counties of rural Ohio and Pennsylvania, there's a good chance a pro-gay marriage stance would've lost Obama much swing-vote support.
Now, with the President-elect vetting an openly gay man for the Secretary of the Navy position, it seems Obama's stance against gay marriage may've been a matter of saying what was necessary to get elected. After all, if he can overturn the silly "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gays in the military, one can only assume a pro-gay marriage shift can't be far behind.
This will anger many Americans. For whatever reason, they feel marriage is some sacred sacrament, open only to god-fearing heterosexuals. Of course, this is purely discrimination. I could go point by point here, talking about how marriage is a declining institution, but it has already been done elsewhere.
So: What are we afraid of? Are we horrified by the idea of homosexual lovers prancing along the front lines of Iraq? Because if history tells us anything, it's that soldiers participating in homosexual relationships (the sacred band of Thebes, the Spartans, Achilles and Patroclus, Alexander the Great) make pretty damned good warriors.
Are we worried that as homosexuality becomes more acceptable, more will "become" homosexual? Because history has shown us that, even when homosexuality was an accepted fact of life, the human race had no trouble breeding itself to dangerous proportions. Believe it or not, heterosexuality and heterosexual marriage won't die out with the institution of gay marriage and decriminalization of homosexuality.
Or, is it that scenes like the one above make us uncomfortable?
You know, some states in this country STILL legally discriminate against sexual orientation. Yet Mexico (the country right-wing pundits always talk down as a corrupt Third World nation) signed the landmark UN declaration. You tell me which country seems more a cornerstone of human rights.
After Premier Bush finally leaves office (he's only got little more than a month left. WOOHOO!), this country needs to take a critical look at itself and its racial, religious, and sexual prejudices. Though President-elect Obama will bring serious change (and hopefully a Civil Rights Act-like Sexual Equality Act) during his first term, I hope he doesn't let we, as a nation, off the hook for our collective bigotry.