(Photo: Reuters/Richard Clement)
Gay activists have found themselves confused and often perplexed at President Obama’s position on homosexual rights; more specifically, whether or not he is willing to publicly embrace same-sex marriage prior to the November 2012 elections.
On one hand, Obama is touted as the president who has done more for gay rights in the last three years than any president in the nation’s history. Shaun Donovan, Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is the first senior administration official to come out in support of same-sex marriage.
“We’ve done more for gay rights in our first three years than most administrations do in eight – and we’re not done yet,” Donovan said in a statement last month.
On the other hand, while he says his position on same-sex marriage is “evolving,” more militant gay rights activists lambast him for his reluctance to fully embrace what they term as “marriage equality.”
“I think if he did come out and say, ‘Yes, I believe gay people are equal,’ you’d have a lot of [gay and straight] volunteers,” former Army officer Dan Choi told Politico.
But with the 2012 elections looming ever so closer, many now believe President Obama will announce his support for marriage equality soon after the New Year so that whatever “shock value” voters would take would erupt immediately after the announcement and then dissipate prior to Election Day.
Some liberal pundits such as Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post suggest that Obama would increase his support among young voters if he would issue a statement of support for same-sex marriage.
“Mr. President, what better moment will there be? [Next year] you might lose,” Marcus wrote in her column.
The overriding question one has to ask is exactly what advantage does the president gain or lose by embracing same-sex marriage in early 2012?
An overwhelming majority of gay voters align themselves with the Democratic Party, so Obama probably doesn’t stand to pick up a significant number of voters by announcing his support of same-sex marriage.
On the other side of the political spectrum, socially conservative Republicans aren’t likely to vote for Obama regardless of his decision since they already believe he embraces same-sex marriage.
“It’s the true Independent that really matters,” Republican strategist Mike Bayham told The Christian Post. “If I were advising Obama I would tell him to walk the streets of Akron, Ohio, and Tampa, Fla., and see what those folks think. We already know what the majority of voters in San Francisco, Calif., and Columbus, Miss., think.”
What many don’t realize is that if Obama were to come out in support of same-sex marriage soon, it would not be the first time he has done so in his political career.
In a 1996 letter to a gay publication in Chicago, then State Senate candidate Barrack Obama gave an affirmative response to a question on same-sex marriage.
“6) I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
While gay rights activists may be frustrated at Obama’s reluctance to support same-sex marriage today, they realize it is strictly for political reasons.
“His constantly evolving position on the subject probably has more to do with positioning himself as a political moderate in an effort to actually make real change in our country,” wrote Kevin Farrell in Inspirgaytion, a gay-rights website. “Hang in there homos. Your president believes in you. Even if he can’t come right out and shout it from the mountaintop in our current political climate.”
Bayham noted, “Ultimately, I don’t think Obama wins or loses on the issue. He better get Americans back to work because right now he’s in a lot of trouble and could be spending his last Christmas in the White House.”