President Obama's timing may have been a tad off for the inevitable and unsurprising unveiling of his support for same-sex marriage.
But a significant irony is that Obama seems to be nodding toward a related measure that is possibly more controversial with voters: Adding "gender identity" to the categories listed in federal anti-discrimination laws. A clue to this comes in recent reports that the Department of Justice pressured the University of Arkansas to change its policy on restroom use for the benefit of an anatomically male transgender student there. After receiving correspondence from the Justice Department, the school announced that this man, who identifies as a woman, would be permitted to use the ladies' room.
Despite Obama's many under-the-radar speeches touting extended protections for transgendered individuals -- in employment, housing, education, use of public facilities, and so on -- he seems to have taken precautions in his election year timing on this issue.
For example, on April 11 Obama decided not to proceed "at this time" with an expected executive order that would have prohibited federal contractors from gender identity discrimination.
The question is not whether he will support such measures, but when he will bring them to the mainstream.
We might help Obama overcome his reticence by asking what he thinks about the gender identity law passed just this month in Argentina.
The new law in Argentina allows individuals to opt for the gender of their choice on official documents. One needn't have surgery or take hormones -- it is enough simply to claim to perceive oneself as a particular gender. The government is then obligated to protect that perception.
Most Americans haven't yet grasped the fact that same sex marriage and gender identity laws are a package deal. Both agendas have been wending their way through statehouses and hundreds of municipalities, as well as the courts.
Both agendas appeal to Americans' sense of fairness, our goodwill and our respect for equal rights for minorities. But we deceive ourselves when we say such laws won't impact our personal lives.
Both ideas fundamentally transform our society, our culture and our laws. The real and potent effect is not on any minority group. It's on everyone else in society.
The gay lobby and all those pushing for gender identity laws are aggressively working to impose redefinitions of reality on everyone. Consider their definition of gender identity as an individual's perception of self as "male, female, both or neither." If codified, we would live under a government-imposed illusion that sex and gender and self are mere social constructs. As our grasp on biological reality becomes weak on its own, legal and social authorities would become the enforcers of weakness.
This is already evident. Consider the rebukes foisted upon anyone -- journalist, legislator or bystander -- who might use a pronoun deemed incorrect in referring to a transgendered individual.
Oprah Winfrey has been especially instrumental in mass marketing compliance with such deceptions, particularly since 2008, when she introduced "the first pregnant man" -- actually a woman who kept her lower reproductive organs intact after elective mastectomies and hormones. Though this person has since given birth to two more children, social retribution rains down on anyone who'd refer to her as "she."
Reasonable people can only begin to ponder what gender identity law will ultimately mean for religious institutions and for the family as a legal concept, not to mention employers. Religious objections would inevitably be silenced in the public square. It is hard to see how any conscience protections, even mere stopgap ones, would be consistent with full enforcement of such laws.
Now that "Don't Ask Don't Tell" has been repealed, the focus is shifting to allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military. Gender identity bills of various kinds have been passed in 16 states, the District of Columbia and numerous municipalities.
Hollywood and the media have helped condition more Americans to go along with the same-sex marriage mantra. But most Americans remain clueless in comprehending the tangled web of gender identity laws that are part of this package. And many shrug off gender identity as a fringe issue.
So ask Obama about it. Because it could soon go mainstream at a White House near you.
Stella Morabito writes on culture, society and education.