Tracy Baim is no longer going listen to what the president says about marriage equality; it's just too maddening. Instead, Baim is going to watch what the president does:

I am going to ignore your recent speeches about marriage, because I believe they are simply dishonest. And that's OK. You have many things to think about, including getting four more years to push your agenda. On same-sex marriage, your words do not matter anymore, and I am not alone in not believing your stated beliefs.

I say this because you told my newspaper (Outlines, which is now Windy City Times) in 1996 that you were fully committed to same-sex marriage rights and would fight efforts to limit those rights. You were just running for Illinois senate, and you were probably not concerned yet about higher office. In Chicago politics, your position was a mainstream one. You slowly migrated toward the middle, first as "undecided" in 1998, then as "against" on practical political grounds in my 2004 interview with you. You soon began to invoke religion, causing great concern from your LGBT and allied supporters. And now you say it is a states' rights issue, but that you are "evolving" on your opinion.

I know you know better. Marriage is no more a states' rights issue than is immigration. The federal government plays a significant role in sanctioning marriages, from social security and inheritance to partner's citizenship and taxes.

As President, however, there are few concrete actions you can take to change this, and you are doing most of those things. Most importantly, you are stopping the Department of Justice from defending the part of the Defense of Marriage Act that refuses to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in the states. The Department of Justice is not fully consistent on this yet, but they are doing some heavy lifting fighting DOMA in the courts. This work is absolutely critical to the equal marriage movement.

Secondly, you are supporting the efforts of states such as New York in passing equal marriage laws.

And thirdly, you have created an environment where millions of LGBTs are positively affected by other, lesser regulations, laws, rulings and other changes in how the federal government does business, both in the U.S. and around the world. These are not sexy, headline-grabbing maneuvers, but they are concrete changes.

I agree with Tracy: I don't believe what the president says about marriage equality. I think he's saying what he has to say, and I think Henrik Herzberg is right:

A lot of the criticism of Obama is based on the fact—and I believe it is a fact—that his talk of “evolving” has been “insincere.” He obviously thinks that marriage equality is a positive good—that marriage should be between a spouse and a spouse, not a gender and a gender—and has thought so for a long time. But for “political” reasons he won’t say so in so many words. But what if this is a case where political calculations are not purely self-interested? What if this is a case where effectiveness—in this instance, effectiveness in the cause of gay equality overall—trumps rhetorical “sincerity”? Suppose Obama had come out for gay marriage a year ago. That would have made him the face of the issue. It would have saddled marriage equality with all the toxic Tea Party wrath that has slimed all over health care and cap-and-trade. “Obamarriage” would have become “Obamacare” with a Christianist twist. If Obama had “evolved” too quickly, public opinion on marriage equality might have stopped evolving at all. It might have gotten hopelessly mired in a Washington-centered, cable-news-supercharged ideological stalemate.

Like Baim, I'm watching what the president does, and he's done quite a lot. Like Herzberg, I think the calculation that lead the president to drop his support for marriage equality may have been a rare example of something being both politically expedient and politically progressive. And, yes, I wore an "Evolve Already" button to the White House's LGBT pride month reception last week. But I was doing what the president encouraged us to do in his remarks at the reception:

It was here, in the East Room, at our first Pride reception, on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a few months after I took office, that I made a pledge, I made a commitment. I said that I would never counsel patience; it wasn’t right for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for folks to tell African Americans to be patient in terms of their freedoms. I said it might take time to get everything we wanted done. But I also expected to be judged not by the promises I made, but the promises I kept. [Promises kept: hate crimes legislation, hospital visitation rights, lifting the HIV travel ban, repealing DADT (after much kicking and screaming), no longer defending DOMA in the courts (Obama's DOJ initially defended DOMA quite aggressively).] So bottom line is, I’ve met my commitments to the LGBT community. I have delivered on what I promised. Now, that doesn’t mean our work is done. There are going to be times where you’re still frustrated with me. (Laughter.) I know there are going to be times where you’re still frustrated at the pace of change. I understand that. I know I can count on you to let me know. (Laughter and applause.) This is not a shy group. (Laughter.)

Out LGBT people are not a shy group; coming out of the closet requires a degree of boldness. And we are impatient for our full civil equality. We're also aware of the progress that's been made in the last two and half years and we're grateful for it—we're also aware that it was loud and clear expressions of our impatience that prompted the White House to act on Obama's promises to the LGBT community.

So you keep delivering, Mr. President, and we'll keep being impatient.