Home > B3 and B4 > Obama’s Support of Gay Marriage: Championing a Change or Ploying for Reelection?

Obama’s Support of Gay Marriage: Championing a Change or Ploying for Reelection?

Today, the issue of same-sex marriage is one of the most controversial topics in the UnitedStates.After North Carolina passed Amendment One on May 8th, which bans same-sex marriage in the state, President Barack Obama backed gay marriage later on May 9. With the upcoming election, such a significant decision begs the question, is the President truly trying to make same-sex marriage legal across the nation, or is he trying to gain votes from supporters of gay marriage? According to the Huffington Post, Barack Obama says that, “I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian American should be treated fairly”, however, the article also states that the President’s decision will have little political impact because the matter is still being discussed in different lights in many state courts.

Throughout our government class this past year, we examined strategies presidential candidates use to help their campaigns and get elected, including convincing campaign commercials and targeting a young demographic. This study leads me to reexamine the President’s recent support of gay marriage. Just as candidates target a demographic of young voters, could President Obama be using this announcement as a strategy to target the demographic of LGBT voters? The President is well aware that passing national same-sex legislation would be nearly impossible, especially due to the amount of states that have banned same-sex marriage (29 states total) greatly outweighing those that allow it (9 states total), according to the graph seen below from the Pew Research Center. During the President’s first run for office, he only supported civil unions between same-sex couples, so it could be argued that his “change of heart” could have the purpose to gain more votes in the race against Governor Romney, which is predicted to be an incredibly close match up.

Despite these inferences of President Obama’s intentions when it comes to his stance on same-sex marriage, his declaration of support may end up not making a difference to voters whatsoever. According to a poll taken by USA Today, 60% of voters say that the President’s announcement will not make a difference on whom they vote for come November. Only 13% of voters say that his support of gay marriage will make them more likely to vote for him, as opposed to 26% reporting that the President’s stance will make it less likely for them to vote for him. Nevertheless, this historical announcement will make for a very interesting election this fall, and if the President is reelected, I will be even more curious as to whether he chooses to take action on his support of gay marriage, or rather abandons a route of action for a change.

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