Those Republicans who aren’t demonizing the president for seeking to destroy the institution of marriage by making heterosexual couples share it are blasting him for a “cynical” political gesture that actually doesn’t separate his position from Mitt Romney’s. Here’s Ann Althouse‘s suggested talking point for Republicans:

Marriage has long been a matter that belongs to states. Both Obama and Romney know that and know that it is not what the U.S. Presidency is about. They do not differ on the actual policy.

It must be getting around, because I heard Elizabeth Hasselbeck parrot it about fifteen times earlier today on The View when she was trying to respond to financial guru Suze Orman’s extravagant praise for Obama on the subject.

To be clear, Mitt Romney does not favor letting the states determine this question. He and the GOP (as of its 2008 platform) support a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage–and arguably any sort of civil unions. He’s also signed the pledge circulated by the preeminent anti-marriage-equality organization in the country, the National Organization For Marriage, which promises not only support for a federal constitutional ban, but also active support for enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act and appointment of “originalist” judges who won’t challenge “traditional marriage.”

Now you can make the argument that Republicans are not going to get their way on this subject and that as a practical matter the states will continue to determine marriage laws. If you can get Mitt Romney to publicly say he won’t lift a finger to oppose same-sex marriage at any level of government, then maybe there’s something to the argument, though that ain’t happening, and I don’t think you’ll find too many LGBT people–or their friends and family–who will say they don’t give a damn if the president of the United States thinks them worthy of equal rights, particularly now that Obama has broken the seal on the subject.

So please, let’s don’t hear any more of this “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference” talk anymore about the presidential candidates and same-sex marriage.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.