Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama and Gay Marriage

Many are celebrating the fact that President Obama yesterday came out in support of gay marriage. However, what many do not realize is the fact that while Obama is for gay marriage, it is only on a personal level and that this may have been done as a campaign ploy to get more money.

Yesterday, it was heralded around the world that Obama had endorsed gay marriage with him being quoted as saying “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” on ABC news. Yet, there was something Obama stated that has been ignored “The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own.” (emphasis added)
Seeing as how Obama’s position on gay marriage is “personal,” this arguably signals that he is completely alright with bigoted legislation such as North Carolina’s recently passed Amendment One which is a constitutional ban on gay marriage. (There is also a racial context to the amendment, see this and this.) Thus, the question that we should wait to see is if Obama will actually put his money where his mouth is and stop doing things such as enforcing DOMA.

Interestingly, almost as soon as it was announced that Obama endorsed same sex marriage, a flood of money went into his campaign coffers. The Washington Post stated in an article that “Fundraisers say the donations began pouring in within minutes of the news Wednesday that Obama, who had been ‘evolving on the issue’ for months, would affirm his support for the right of gay couples to be married.” (emphasis added) There was also an increase in financial support from LGBT+ political action committees, with stating

Last fall, we counted at least 12 prominent gay and lesbian rights advocates who together had bundled at least $2.7 million for the Obama campaign. Included on the latest list of Obama bundlers, released last month, were at least two new ones: Tim Gill, a former tech executive and LGBT activist, and his husband, Scott Miller, of Denver, Colo., who bundled at least $500,000 more for Obama.

In addition to this, it was reported that Obama “changed his stance ahead of a $40,000 a plate fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of movie star George Clooney where wealthy gay- and gay-oriented donors had threatened to withhold donations.”

This announcement came amid a general decrease in financial support from LGBT+ groups, thus one must wonder if he endorsed SSM also to gain money.

While there are some arguing that Obama will lose votes, it will likely prove false as while the support for SSM is an almost even split, it is also among party lines with most Independents and Democrats being for it and Republicans against. There is also some talk that he could lose many votes in the African-American community, but this may prove false as well.

While Obama may have come out in support of gay marriage and he should be supported for it, one should keep in mind that old saying “Talk is cheap.” Let’s see if Obama is cheap.

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