Obama's Waffling on Gay Marriage Could Create Election-Year Bind

Published on
by
Common Dreams

Obama's Waffling on Gay Marriage Could Create Election-Year Bind

Gay rights advocates wonder if Obama will support gay marriage before the election

by
Common Dreams staff

Obama's 'evolving' stance on gay marriage could complicate his re-election campaign.

With President Obama visiting Vermont and Maine today -- two states where gay marriage has been a major issue of late -- concerns about how stance on gay marriage may impact his re-election campaign continue to mount.

President Obama has never supported gay marriage, but in 2010 he said he was "evolving" on the issue.

"President Barack Obama could be caught in an election-year bind on gay marriage, wedged between the pressure of supporters who want him to back same-sex marriage and the political perils of igniting an explosive social issue in the midst of the campaign," says an Associated Press article from today. "Interviews with gay rights advocates and people close to Obama's campaign suggest it is no longer a matter of if, but when the president publicly voices his support. But Obama backers are split over whether that will happen before the November elections.

*  *  *

The Associated Press: Obama could face election-year jam on gay marriage

President Barack Obama could be caught in an election-year bind on gay marriage, wedged between the pressure of supporters who want him to back same-sex marriage and the political perils of igniting an explosive social issue in the midst of the campaign.

Interviews with gay rights advocates and people close to Obama's campaign suggest it is no longer a matter of if, but when the president publicly voices his support. But Obama backers are split over whether that will happen before the November elections.

Gay marriage is already a big issue in a handful of states that have it on their ballots in November, including Maine, where Obama was headlining two fundraisers Friday. He was not expected to wade into the issue during his remarks.

The president also headlined fundraisers Friday in Vermont, one of six states, plus the District of Columbia, where gay marriage is legal. He did not mention the subject during his two appearances there.

Once an opponent of gay marriage, Obama declared in 2010 that his personal views on the subject were "evolving." He has gone no further in public since then.

People familiar with the Obama campaign's deliberations have tamped down expectations that the president might declare his support for gay marriage before the election. They say the campaign's internal conversations on the issue focus instead on how to energize gay and lesbian voters in spite of Obama's lack of clarity on the issue.

Public support for gay marriage is increasing in the U.S., including among the independent voters who are a key to general election success.

But regardless of whether Obama has made up his mind on the subject, it's not the topic his campaign wants to be talking about heading into an election expected to be decided largely on economic issues. As White House and campaign officials learned all too well during the controversy over birth control access earlier this year, stepping into social issues — even those with Democratic support — can quickly throw the president's message off course.

#  #  #

Share This Article

More in: