How dare she!
Elizabeth Edwards has an opinion, and it differs from that of her husband. Commence pearl clutching.
At least, that's what you might think based on the headline and tone of the story about Elizabeth Edwards's extremist opinion that gays and lesbians ought to be able to get married like everyone else.
Look at the headline: Elizabeth Edwards strays on gay marriage
The use of the word "strays" there is the real issue, because used in such proximity to marriage, it hints at betrayal, unfaithfulness, adultery. But let me give the headline writer the benefit of the doubt and say that (likely) he had no ill intent in the choice of the word. It's still a problem, because it insists that the wives of candidates share the policy positions of their husbands, and that any deviation will be pointed out and punished, even though disagreement is an integral part of any long term relationship. What couples don't disagree on some things? Scary ones--the kind who wear matching jogging suits to CostCo, the soulless pods from suburban sitcoms, that's who.
Now the tone of the article hints at the possibility that this would be damaging to John Edwards's chances at the nomination (though I think his recent fundraising troubles are more problematic), but it does so through the filter of Elizabeth Edwards putting him in a tight spot, policy-wise, as though John will either have to repudiate his wife or change his position.
I wonder how the press would spin it if Bill and Hillary Clinton had that kind of disagreement while she's the candidate and he's the spouse? I can see Chris Matthews now, spittle spewing from his piehole in orgasmic splendor as he waxes about how Hillary can't possibly recover from a disagreement with her husband, because he's the Big Dog and she's a harpy with a voice "like fingernails on a blackboard."
It's still all about the gender. The wife's place on the campaign trail is to repeat her husband's opinions and never have any of her own, according to our media, and heaven help her if she "strays."