Obama and Prop. 8

Kevin Drum makes the case that Obama owes us a little bit of audacity in standing up against the plan to write a ban on gay marriage into the California Constitution. But Kevin acknowledges that doing so would be risky.

I think it would be a lot less risky if Obama &#8212 who has already made a statement against Proposition 8 but hasn’t done anything beyond that &#8212 made another statement, or an ad, pointing out that if the initiative passes it would retroactively un-marry thousands of couples, and stressing the sheer cruelty of shredding those vows of mutual fidelity by political fiat. Obama could then say what he’s said before: that, precisely because marriage is a sacred institution, it’s a violation of religious liberty for the state to define what it is, or isn’t, and that all committed couples ought to enjoy precisely the same legal status.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com