In February of last year, when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters President Obama was still "evolving" on the issue of gay marriage, it was an implicit signal to gay rights advocates that the president was coming around to their side. Now it appears that "evolution" process is on hold. On Thursday, the president told a gathering of lobbyists and advocates that he wasn't going to issue an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people—a decision that infuriated gay rights activists. The principal question being: How does this fit into the president's evolutionary trajectory? In his progression, you'll notice a hiccup:
2008 Just prior to his ascension to the White House is probably a good time to start the evolution watch, and in August of 2008, candidate Obama came out against gay marriage, telling Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman."
2009 In June, in the White House, President Obama signed a referendum giving same-sex partners who are federal employees the ability to receive benefits. It was his first major initiative but it came short of offering partners full health care coverage. In August of that year, Obama posthumously gave Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom.