Gay Marriage: What Would Lincoln Do?
Former president put practicality first: Cass Sunstein
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Nov 13, 2012 12:34 PM CST
Daniel Day-Lewis portrays Abraham Lincoln in the film "Lincoln."   (AP Photo/DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox, David James)

(Newser) – Abraham Lincoln was deeply opposed to slavery—but when it came to the politics of ending the travesty, he took a highly practical approach, writes Cass Sunstein at Bloomberg. As a Senate candidate, Lincoln refused to call for immediate abolition, arguing that it wouldn't have public support. "A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, cannot be safely disregarded," he said. "With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." Perhaps Lincoln should have demanded an end to slavery, but he couldn't have forced it on an unready nation, Sunstein notes.

Soon, the Supreme Court could hear any of a number of cases tied to same-sex marriage. Not long ago, any court-imposed legalization of such marriages would have met with a backlash—and perhaps even a constitutional amendment banning the unions. But in a time when a president has endorsed gay marriage, and after an Election Day that saw three states vote in favor of it while another voted against a ban, it's clear that opposition to gay marriage is no longer a "universal feeling." As the country moves toward support for gay marriage, the argument for judicial "caution becomes weaker every day." Click through for Sunstein's full column.

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Nov 15, 2012 12:56 AM CST
mr l would get sick and puke big time!
Nov 14, 2012 11:25 AM CST
The times are changin'.
Nov 14, 2012 6:36 AM CST
Lincoln was pushed into the war.. Never wanted it.. It was not favorable to slavery at the time for the majority of US citizens or Lincoln. Slavery was only a tool (A lot like “Weapons of Mass Destruction”) to begin a war to force seceding states back into the union. He did only free the slave in the south. Lincoln would have never use his own addenda of Gays as a tool to divide the nation..Dividing the nation appears to be a tool Obama favors to rally the liberal troops...