Obama Endorses Gay Marriage in Washington State, Maryland, Maine
President Obama said Thursday that he is formally endorsing same-sex marriage in the states of Washington, Maine and Maryland, joining Minnesota, where he has already lent his support to the issue earlier this year.
Homosexual activists are gaining confidence that the issue will pass in at least one of the four states. They are hoping Obama's endorsement will help.
The blanket endorsement was exactly the same statement Obama's campaign team released earlier this year in North Carolina, where the legalization of same-sex marriage was defeated by voters in May.
"While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect," said Paul Bell, the campaign's press secretary in Washington State.
The four states voting on the same-sex marriage issue this year are viewed as liberal-leaning states, making passage in at least one a strong possibility. Pro-family activists and ministers have been outraised and outspent, but are waging competitive battles to keep traditional marriage intact.
Legislators in Washington State and Maryland passed same-sex marriage laws but citizens turned in enough signatures to force the issue onto the November ballot in both states.
Washington State Sen. Ed Murray was excited to learn of President Obama's endorsement.
"When I first began fighting in the legislature for marriage equality ... I would never have dared to dream that a president of the United States would one day step forward at this crucial moment, in the middle of his own close re-election campaign, to offer his support for our efforts," Murray told The Associated Press.
Chip White of Preserve Marriage Washington, which opposes the gay-marriage law, said he was unsurprised by Obama's action.
"Until May of this year, the president's position was that marriage is the union of one man and one woman," White told AP. "No one called him a bigot or said he was unfair for holding that position. And Washingtonians who believe in the traditional definition of marriage as one man and one woman are not bigots."
In May, President Obama publicly announced his support of same-sex marriage, a reversal from his previous position that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Gay marriage proponents have been outperforming supporters of traditional marriage when it comes to fundraising for many months. And despite large gifts in Washington State to pass what is known as Referendum 74, those who are defending marriage are not deterred.
Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Wash., has been one of the leaders trying to uphold traditional marriage and he told The Christian Post in July that no amount of money could overcome what is right in God's eyes.
"I laugh when people talk about how much money they've raised to promote a sinful lifestyle," said Hutcherson. "God is not concerned about money and if we can successfully mobilize the Christians in our state who believe that marriage should be between a man and a women, then we will succeed."
"My warning to the folks supporting Referendum 74 is they have picked a fight like they've never seen before. The fight to protect marriage is not about money, it's about motivating Christians to get out and vote."
Amendments defining marriage as between one man and one woman or making gay marriage illegal have successfully passed in 32 of 32 attempts at the state level. Gay marriage is legal in six states.