He supported full marriage equality for same-sex couples 12 years ago, when he was running for State Senate. What gives? Politics, obviously.
Now, some may view this as a good thing. I can hear these thoughts in my head: "See, he really supports us! All of this civil union talk is just politics!"
Maybe, but those people are missing the point. What this really shows is that to President Obama civil rights for gays, lesbians and transgenders is something to be bargained with. It would never be acceptable to bargain with the rights of others, but it's perfectly fine for people who are glbt. That's become eminently obviously with this whole Rick Warren saga.
As stated the other day, if the Democratic Party wants to be a true party of civil rights and equality, it can't be willing to negotiate when it comes to basic and inalienable human rights, such as the right to love and marry anyone who consents and shares those feelings, or the right to not be fired or denied housing simply for being gay. Will Obama be willing to play politics with those other rights, should he find their passage an inconvenient path that could cost energy, time and votes? Other Presidents before him (LBJ in particular) have made that tough choice, choices that today have given President Obama and his kids many of the rights and protections that they would have been denied just a few decades ago. Here's hoping he pays that forward.