Obama comes out

For the past four years, President Obama has kept America guessing on his stand on same-sex marriage. When he was on the 2008 presidential campaign trail,  he explained that he supports civil unions and promised to repeal DADT, but on the subject of including gay couples in the traditional definition of marriage he  coiled back. He wasn't quite there, he was 'evolving' he liked to say. It was a middle-of-the-road answer which appeased social conservatives and simultaneously gave hope to the gay community.

I believe the President was struggling with his views in the same way that someone who has not yet come to terms with their sexuality wrestles with the uncomfortable truth. So each time Obama was pressed on the issue, he would uncomfortably state that he was evolving.  True to campaign promise, he broadened equality and benefits to gay couples and he repealed DADT. With these measures in place, the pressure for Obama to declare his stance on the contentious gay marriage issue waned. Then during an interview with Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden went off script and announced that he was comfortable with same-sex marriage. As this surprising announcement richocheted through different media channels, the spotlight was on Obama. Was he done evolving? If so, had he evolved into a traditionalist or a progressive?

Like a gay teenager being confronted about his sexuality, Obama was forced to come out when he was not yet ready. In a sit down interview with Robin Roberts, he declared that same-sex couples had the right to get married. The public's response was polarizing. Whilst some tweeted their joy, others were convinced Obama was going to hell in a rainbow coloured loin cloth. The pundits want to know his motive for taking a stand on this contentious issue. The critics are certain this is a political ploy. And because it is an election year, the strategist wonder if he would be punished by this revelation. I personally don't believe Obama did this for political gains. Think about it, in 2008 he had the overwhelming support of the gay community and after repealing DADT they are one demographic he does not need to worry about. It would have been far more convenient for him to reiterate his 'evolving' stand on same-sex marriage but he chose to come out with the truth. The fall out has already began. Some influential pastors in crucial states have said it will be hard for them to support Obama after this declaration. He has received some praise but for the most part, he is being skewered for wading into an issue that has rocked families and religious institutions.

It may not be a politically savvy move, but you've got to admit it is darn courageous.  

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  1. Actually, it just reflects the changing opinions of more and more Americans, even across the aisle. The following is a link to a GOP pollster urging Republicans to change their position based on public opinion.

  2. I have no doubt that changing public opinion has something to do with Obama's announcement of his changed stance, but I don't think that makes it any less courageous. Yes, a teenager who is gay is more likely to come out if he knows his parents will be supportive. But I don't think that makes them any less courageous than the one who comes out knowing that they will be thrown out of their house. Public opinion has changed, but it hasn't turned around overnight. There are still people who are going to be highly motivated to go to the polls and vote against Obama because of what he has done here.

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