During the campaign Barack Obama made it clear that he did not support gay marriage but was open to civil partnerships. John McCain said pretty much the same thing with the exception that he felt that it should be up to the states to decide. During their debate, Biden and Palin said the same thing. In essence, gay marriage was a non-issue in the presidential election with all candidates agreeing that gay marriage is bad but civil partnerships are fine.
Despite this unanimity, gays overwhelmingly voted for Obama. Many were convinced that Obama was secretly more pro-gay than he let on or took positions without listening to what Obama actually said.
Enter the Reverend Rick Warren who was invited to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration. Gays are having a fit because of Warren's statements on gay marriage.
So what are Warren's actual beliefs on the subject? He said some rather strong things about gay marriage, lumping it in with other things that are banned from marriage (incest, child molesting, and polygamy). He has since apologised for the comparison. He has also said that he is in favor of universal rights and supports civil partnerships (although possibly not under that name). He is not anti-gay and has a history of support for people with AIDS.
In other words, Warren's views on gays and marriage are not very different than Obama's stated views. So what's the problem?
Two factors are going on. One is, as I said before, that many gays expected Obama to be a stealth-supporter of gay rights. The Instapundit pointed out in March that many of Obama's supporters were counting on him to be lying on the campaign trail. This is a side-effect of his cult of personality. He encouraged people to believe in him personally as opposed to his policies.
The other factor is an aversion to religion by the political left. A few years a go a woman was kidnapped but convinced her captor to release her by reading passages from Warren's best-seller, A Purpose Driven Life. The left made fun of her. Others have taken issue with his belief in creationism.
It would be interesting to see what Warren's critics said about the Reverend Wright, Obama's former pastor. Most Obama supporters were willing to give Obama a pass for listening to Wright for years. A common complaint was that critics were picking and choosing quotes from Wright's long career. How many of those people are now doing the same thing with Warren?
Obama has said that he wants to be president of all Americans. Warren has a wide following and his selection is seen as an offering to the religious right. Obama's critics seem to want him to only be the president of the progressive left. They are not doing and favors for either Obama or the country.