One of my Facebook friends raised an interesting question late last week. He asked why Obama would speak out in support of gay marriage when the topic has been voted down by wide margins of voters in both conservative and liberal states. It’s an interesting question, for sure.
Evangelicals say he’s pushing an agenda, but I disagree. If gay marriage were on his agenda, he would have been much more outspoken about the issue than he has been.
Joe Biden forced the issue, but I don’t believe for a minute that Biden bringing the issue to the forefront was an accident. The issue was up for a vote in North Carolina. Statistically it had no chance of passing, but there was a chance for Obama to win favor with some key voters.
By having Biden “accidentally” bring it up, Obama looks like he is able to respond to unwanted attention to his personal beliefs, and he gets the opportunity to come out in favor of gay marriage while not doing it proactively. It was a brilliant move and a timely reminder that no matter how much you dislike him, Obama is no idiot.
Here are a few other reasons Obama may have had for supporting gay marriage:
The nation is split 50/50 on the issue. It would be relatively safe to make a stand on either side of the issue. Plus, it’s worth noting that single-issue voters with marriage as their single issue would never vote for Obama anyway.
Appeal to the independent voters. Independent voters overwhelmingly support gay marriage, and as I’ve said before, their vote is likely to be the determining factor in this year’s presidential election. The list of differences between Obama and Romney isn’t a long one, and this is one way he can make himself stand out from the presumed GOP nominee.
Money. Expect a surge in donations from the LGBT community. Marriage equality is their big issue, and they’ll put money behind candidates who are on their side. Obama knows this, and he’s more than willing to spend their money.
In all of this, what stands out to me the most is that Obama supported it because the issue was “forced” because of what Biden said. Obama didn’t speak out in support because he truly supports the issue; he spoke out in support because he had to respond to what Biden said.
Those who support gay marriage should realize that the President’s support of their issue was, for the most part, politically motivated. While it’s understandable that they would show excitement over his support of their issue, one has to wonder how much he supports them, given that it was a stance he was “forced” to make in a situation where the political motivation is so obvious.