What President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage didn't do: Allow a single new gay couple to get married. What it did do: Inspire waves of campaign donations, attack ads, and a symbolic but ultimately meaningless congressional vote. The easiest ways to express how you feel about the issue are some of the least pleasant parts of American democracy.
Hours after Obama's interview with ABC News was aired, the House of Representatives voted 245 to 171 to block any taxpayer money from going to a Justice Department effort to actively work to end the Defense of Marriage Act, Politico's Seung Min Kim reports. Was there a Justice Department program to actively end the law, passed under Bill Clinton, that defines marriage as between a man and a woman? No. The administration is just no longer defending it. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Oklahoma, made it clear the timing of the vote was meant to make a statement: "It is not President Obama’s prerogative to decide which laws matter and which do not, nor his right to challenge constitutional amendments duly passed by the various states."
Democrats, of course, don't mind scoring a few points on the issue, either. A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi denounced the vote as a sign Republicans are "firmly on the wrong side of history." Obama's reelection campaign quickly posted an ad contrasting Obama's new view with Mitt Romney's opposition to gay marriage.