On Wednesday, President Barack Obama made the historic announcement that he endorses same-sex marriage. While his public pronouncement -- uttered during a hastily-organized interview with ABC News following Vice President Joe Biden's verbal slip-up -- is being treated as big news, this is a stance Obama has taken before. In fact, the president has a complicated (some might even say bizarre) history of flip-flopping on the issue.
Take, for instance, a Windy City Times article from 1996, in which Obama, then a candidate for the Illinois State Senate, affirmed his "unequivocal support for gay marriage."
"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages," Obama proclaimed in an interview with the newspaper (in a separate survey for a gay political group, he also issued the same sentiment).
Curiously, by 1998 -- just two years later -- Obama's "favor" had turned lukewarm on the issue. During yet another election cycle, he answered that his position on the issue was "undecided."
In 2004 (yes, another election year), Obama took a more middle-ground route, as he publicly supported domestic partnerships and civil unions. He also took the opportunity to say that, unlike his statement in 1998, he did not support gay marriage.
"I am a fierce supporter of domestic-partnership and civil-union laws," he said. "I am not a supporter of gay marriage as it has been thrown about primarily just as a strategic issue."
Flash forward a few years to the 2008 election cycle, during which Obama affirmed that he believes marriage to be between one man and one woman.
"I am not in favor of gay marriage," Obama said. "But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about."
As Fox News notes, he also said: "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian ... it is also a sacred union."
In 2010, after already assuming the White House, Obama began to set the groundwork, it seems, for an "evolution" on the issue. Only, at no point did he mention the 1996 endorsement he purportedly gave same-sex unions. In fact, while discussing the issue, he acted as though he had always held a position against gay marriage.
"I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage," he said. "But I also think you're right that attitudes evolve, including mine."
Then, on Wednesday -- just six months before the 2012 election -- the president changed his tune once more.
“I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue,” the president told ABC News on Wednesday. “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
As The Blaze has already reported, Obama's campaign quickly sent a fundraising e-mail, Tweeted and began promoting the president's "newfound" stance on the issue.
Considering this past history, one wonders if the press will take the time to explore the motivations behind the president's constant ideological changes -- particularly during electoral cycles.
(H/T: The Blaze Blog)