The Race for the White House and Homophobia

The good news is that Obama has come out in favor of gay marriage. This is truly good news, not because Obama now supports it but rather because things have now moved forward sufficiently for this to be said by him in public as a campaign issue.

We don’t have to go very far back in time to observe that the opposite stance would be the public political stance, so quite clearly great process has been made. There is an interesting article in slate regarding this change, they observe …

In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a state’s right to prosecute two men for having sex. Today, 26 years later, the president of the United States affirmed the right of two men to marry.

How did this happen? How did same-sex marriage go from a nonstarter—an idea so farfetched that nobody even polled the question—to a policy that half the country supports?

To answer that question, watch the interview President Obama gave to ABC News this afternoon. Obama didn’t answer the marriage question like a president. He answered it like an ordinary person. In his responses, you can see the cultural changes that have moved millions of Americans in the same direction.

Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts that he and his wife are “practicing Christians” and that to endorse same-sex marriage would “put us at odds with the views of others” in their faith. He said he had previously withheld support for gay marriage because:

“I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs … [But] over the course of several years, as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together …

Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table, and we’re talking about their friends and their parents, and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them, and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”

You know in your heart of hearts that this latest news is not just the expression of a personal opinion by Mr Obama, but rather is a result of numbers being crunched by his advisers. By placing their finger on the pulse of public opinion, they are able to give him guidance on what to say and what not to say. In this, an election year, clearly the guidance being given to him is that coming out and supporting gay marriage is a vote winner. Now that truly is good news, for it means that the tide is indeed turning and that the historical homophobic stance is passing, and that many voters are taking the far more moral stance and will support true equality for all.

Clearly things have indeed changed, the polls now show an even split, with gay marriage marginally favored: 50 to 48 according to Gallup, 46 to 44 according to Pew. If same-sex marriage was still a toxic concept, Obama would still be ducking it.

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