President Obama’s devolution on gay marriage
With the New York Marriage Equality Act being passed into law, and the upcoming 2012 presidential election, the citizens of this great nation need to hold President Obama accountable for his views on same-sex marriage. In May 2011, a Gallup poll on gay marriage indicated majority support for same-sex marriage for the first time, up from only 27 percent support in 1996.
In a 1996 interview with the Windy City Times, President Obama said, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” Since becoming a candidate for president, however, Obama has consistently stated his opposition to same-sex marriage, and his support for a “strong civil union” and full equality under the law, a separate-but-equal approach. At the same time, however, President Obama says his “feelings are constantly evolving,” signaling the possibility of a change in heart down the road.
Many liberals defend the president because of his work on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and other LGBT issues. While it is true that President Obama has been the most supportive president in terms of the LGBT community, it does not exempt him from criticism on other related issues. In addition, if LGBT activists in New York can persuade conservative Democrats and Republican state representatives to switch from Nay to Yay on the Marriage Equality Act, there is more reason to believe it can be done in other areas.
While it is generally better to avoid characterizing a person’s intentions, President Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage seems politically convenient at best. The president’s current approach to gay marriage seems inauthentic, which will not help him as the country becomes more tolerant and accepting. According to Julie Mason and Glenn Thrush at Politico, Democratic strategists have cautioned that a change in heart could cause an uprising among “independents and even church-going blacks and Hispanics.”
If the Gallup poll is correct, betting on gay marriage is the correct political strategy, an action that could reinvigorate Obama’s reelection chances, and result in an influx of campaign contributions. These prospects are especially promising considering the astounding 70 percent of those ages 18-34 who support legalizing same-sex marriage, 69 percent among Democrats, and 59 percent among Independents.
Same-sex marriage seems like part of a winning political strategy, an action that will surely help his fundraising. It is also in line with the majority of Americans, but in the end, it’s just the right thing to do. So, Obama, will you please “evolve” already?