President Obama finally declared himself: He thinks same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. He said he once favored civil unions as a way to recognize same-sex relationships without running into the “that’s not a marriage” buzz saw. But you know what, civil unions — if properly defined in a statute — are the same as a marriage in the eyes of the law. And the law is all that politicians should care about. Leave the sacred trappings outside government’s door.

It’s obvious that the President waited until North Carolina voted to put himself on the record. Had he spoken up before the Amendment 1 vote, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. The polls made that much clear, not to mention the lopsided 61-39 percent vote in favor.

And, of course, a pre-N.C. vote statement by Obama most certainly would’ve been belittled as evidence, after Amendment 1 passed anyway, that people don’t care what the President thinks.

Thirty-one states have now voted on the question of banning same-sex marriage, and all of them have come out in favor of banning it. But Minnesota, which will take up the question in a referendum this November, could break the string. Polls there show opinion to be closely divided.

In North Carolina, we’re at rock bottom today. Mark this as the end of the beginning.