President Obama has stopped dithering after he was forced off the fence regarding the gay marriage issue. Vice President Joe Biden in an interview last Sunday stated that he was totally comfortable with the marriage of same-sex couples, and frankly he did not see what the fuss was beyond that. This created a flurry of activity around the issue, many wondered if Biden had misspoken once again, he is well-known as a gaffe machine. The next day Education secretary Arne Duncan stated on MSNBC that he was also in favor of same-sex marriage, Interviewer Mark Halperin asked Duncan if he had ever said so in public before, Duncan shot back “I have never been asked before”
Cable channels lit up with speculation as to what Obama’s position would be, as Illinois state senator Barack Obama was for civil union , his aides argued he was still evolving, this did not slow down the incessant 24 hour chatter on cable, with many all but demanding that the president come out one way or the other on the issue.
Obama like any politician spent time considering the political ramifications either way. This could not have come at a worse time for the president in my estimation, the state of North Carolina just this week voted decisively by a twenty point margin to outlaw same-sex marriage. North Carolina is an extremely crucial state for the president, no democrat had won that state until Jimmy Carter did in 1976, Obama won North Carolina by a comfortable margin in 2008 , owing largely to the large African-American community there, which turned out in big numbers to give Obama the win.
Other swing states like Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania may factor into how this ultimately plays out in November. Many swing states have large christian conservative populations who are vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage or even civil unions.
The Hollywood crowd is ecstatic with the president’s decision,segments of the media are also happy but , it is still left to be seen how actual voters will react to this historic decision by Obama. (The LGBT) community had long framed this issue as a civil rights issue, linking their sojourn to the civil rights struggles African-americans waged.
This strategy has angered some within the African-American community who believe that there is no connection between the two. African-Americans are actually largely against gay marriage, now coined (marriage equality) for palatibility. These are some of the very voters who just voted unaminously to outlaw marriage equality in North Carolina, and the most loyal part of the president’s base.
Many pundits argue that blacks are just not gonna abandon the president on this issue, because of the pride they feel at having a black man in the white house.I am not so sure, having listened to the views of some pastors who fear that they will be forced to marry people of the same gender against their core christian principles. These pastors have large congregations which may not be happy with this decision. The question is, are these voters going to go out and vote for Mitt Romney? Or will they chose instead may just choose instead not to go out and vote at all?
Mitt Romney the republican presidential candidate in response to the president’s position, stated that he believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Romney also offered up more extended and nuanced ,(wishy/washy) platitudes, which I will not delve into at this time.
Many hail the president’s position as a historic moment for civil rights, the question is what kind of outcome will it have for his short-term political future? As the president’s position has evolved it behoves all of us to be cognizant of the protestations of those who invoke God’s name into the debate, many of them used his name to justify slavery, Jim Crowe, to bar inter racial marriage, and to generally discriminate against minorities.
Whether we agree or disagree with the decision of the president, those whose rights he professes to protect are no less than the rest of us. Even if he and the LGBT community are sinful and deserve to burn in hell it still is not up to the rest of us to impose those penalties. As the scriptures clearly states let the wheat and the tares grow together untill the day of harvest.
God is the ultimate judge.