“Even if preserving tradition[al marriage] were in itself an important goal, DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) is not a means to achieve it. As the district court found: “because the decision of whether same-sex couples can marry is left to the states, DOMA does not, strictly speaking, ‘preserve’ the institution of marriage as between one man and a woman.” … Preservation of a traditional understanding of marriage therefore is not an exceedingly persuasive justification for DOMA.”
Mr Obama made his first statement on the Trayvon Martin case last Friday, and it was pretty darn careful. He said he thought it was crucial that the case be investigated at every level so we can get to the bottom of what happened. He also noted: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Ta-Nehisi Coates called this “Stunning. Pitch perfect…a stunning exercise in political minimalism.” Minimalism is exactly right: in a case freighted with racial significance, where being black puts him in an especially fraught position, Mr Obama said exactly enough to register the moral weight of the situation, without saying anything that would imply partiality. The line demonstrates empathy and invites everyone else to share that empathy, without saying anything that might alienate anyone whose sons don’t look like Trayvon.
I highly recommend reading the rest of the article, which is actually about the politics of gay marriage. It contains truly inspiring analysis.