Thursday, May 10, 2012

Going Forward

It seems like I've been spending a lot of time on this issue lately... but that's only because it keeps finding its way into the news.

In a history making statement, President Barack Obama has confirmed that he supports gay marriage. In this linked article, the President admits " this electoral map. It may hurt me." Which, most logical people would admit, is a very big possibility. While there continue to be polls that say that Americans today support gay marriage by a very slim margin, the issue loses every time it is put to a vote. This is because, as with many issues, the people against something tend to be more passionate and outspoken than the people for the same thing. These people are therefore more motivated to come out and vote.

This is a problem for the President; while this is unlikely to gain him many voters (people will vote against him over the economy, and this stance probably won't attract many of those people who happen to support gay marriage), it could be a turn-off to some of his supporters who may have been wavering. While they may not flock to Romney, some people, such as Evangelicals, may stay home instead of turning out for Obama. In an election that is already projected to be very tight, this could be a disaster.

I believe, knowing this, it took a great deal of courage for the President to come out an confirm something that he has probably personally believed for some time. I don't think he was necessarily forced into it by Biden or anyone else; Joe Biden is allowed to have an opinion on something, and that does not have to reflect the President's view. The way that the media has been beating Biden's comments to death may have had something to do with the timing of Obama's statement, however. The President did the right thing by standing firm and saying what he believes in, regardless of the inevitable political consequences.

Some call Obama's announcement a flip-flop. I suppose it could be construed that way, as the President has, in the past, argued against gay marriage. However, I also see a person's opinion on gay marriage as something that can change over time, much as Obama's view has. Being a Christian on one hand, and someone who favors equality and fairness on the other, one could see how the President could struggle with the issue. I believe it's understandable that someone's opinion on this could waver. Considering that the most likely political consequences of this announcement are negative, it would be difficult to cast this as a politically motivated statement (though cast away some on the right will).

In the end, I am proud of our President for showing true leadership and character on this issue. At a time when politics does nothing but constantly cause me to embarrassed for our country, this is a rare high note.

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