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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama Endorses Same-Sex Marriage

Vice President Biden's comments on marriage have prompted a White House shift. In an ABC interview yesterday, President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage.  At Politico, Charles Mahtesian writes:
No doubt, Obama gets some political pluses out of supporting same-sex marriage Wednesday — energizing LGBT voters and donors, adding a new line to his Mitt Romney’s-a-throwback brief, kick-starting college turnout or in simply reminding people that yes, he came to Washington to do big things.
But for all the polls showing movement toward greater public acceptance of gay marriage, for all the signs of increased tolerance and changing mores, there’s one undeniable fact: A full embrace of gay rights has never been a winner in the political arena.

Fifteen years of ballot measures in more than 30 states from coast-to-coast show an issue that has been rejected nearly every time it’s gone before the voters — often by large margins.
He identifies seven states where the president's change of position may hurt:

  • North Carolina, which just passed a ban on same-sex marriage (and where some voters may see the president's statement as a rebuke);
  • Florida: "Four years ago, Obama and an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment shared the Florida ballot. Obama won the state narrowly, the amendment won by a landslide. And the amendment won 600,000 more votes than Obama."
  • Colorado, home of Focus on the Family;
  • Nevada, with lots of Mormons;
  • Iowa, where in 2010 voters ousted three judges who voted to allow same-sex marriage;
  • Missouri, with many social conservatives;
  • Ohio, where "polls continue to show that a majority in Ohio oppose gay marriage, compared with only about one-third of voters who support it.

Michael Barone writes:
Barack Obama certainly made news today with his announcement that he has changed his position and now favors same-sex marriage. But one part of his statement has evidently aroused a firestorm in the conservative blogosphere. “When I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors,” he said, “who are out there fighting on my behalf . . . .” “My behalf”? They are fighting on behalf of the United States of America of which Obama is, like all his predecessors have been and all his successors will be, temporarily president and commander-in-chief. Obama could have accurately said “at my command,” since that is literally true. But that would conflict with his campaign message that he ends wars rather than wages them. And if he were a constitutional monarch like Elizabeth II he could, I suppose, say “on my behalf.” But we're not a monarchy and he's not royal.