North Carolina banned a lot more than gay marriages yesterday: Amendment 1 also bans civil unions, which means it will likely hurt more than just gay couples, and will strip many—including kids—of their health insurance. And President Obama bears some of the blame for its passage, writes Amy Davidson in the New Yorker. In the weeks before the vote, rather than doing what he could as the president to explain what Amendment 1 really meant, he and his administration were once again skirting the issue of gay marriage.
The White House responded with “edgy mortification” when both Joe Biden and Arne Duncan expressed support for same-sex marriage, continuing to act like gay marriage isn’t “a celebration, but something to whisper about.” It’s obvious that the issue is too politically “toxic” for Obama to really take a stand, particularly in an election year, but waiting it out is not good enough. “If there is a lesson in the North Carolina vote, it is that complacency on this issue is not a victimless stance,” Davidson writes. “We have arrived at a moment when politicians—including the president—need to say what they believe.” Click for Davidson's full column (and note that Obama did express his disappointment with Amendment 1’s passage).