People are going to spin it however they want to -- including Congressman Allen West, who somehow interpreted the statement as an excuse to attack Obama for hating individual sovereignty
But none of it matters.
It doesn't matter because Obama made it clear he intends to make sure it doesn't. As outlined by ABC:
The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states' deciding the issue on their own. But he said he's confident that more Americans will grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters' comfort with the concept.
Obama didn't say marriage was a universal right, and he didn't say it was time for America to embrace equality. And as long as he believes states should decide on their own, his opinion on the issue is pretty much irrelevant.
It was a step forward for the movement, sure, and a politically courageous move for him -- he has very little, electorally speaking, to gain from it. But it doesn't make a single bit of difference in North Carolina, where voters amended the state constitution
to ban gay marriage. It's likewise irrelevant in the 29 other states that have banned it -- including Florida, which adopted its constitutional gay marriage ban
in 2008. And his statement will be just as useless when other states move to specifically ban something that's already not allowed for in their laws.
The 4.9 million Floridians
who voted to ban gay marriage didn't do so because a politician told them to -- they did it because their minds had been made up about gay people for a long time. It's not a debate in which education about the issue makes any difference, and public endorsements, even from a president, mean little when they're put up against discrimination endorsed by the Almighty.
Obama is right about his daughters being the key, though -- the generation currently in power has made it abundantly clear that, when given the choice, they will not choose to afford gay people the same rights that straight people enjoy.
But the generation currently in power will die. And their children, with any luck at all, will reverse their bigotry. Even if the president won't.