Shortly after President Obama made history by declaring his support for gay marriage on Wednesday, Republican rival Mitt Romney reaffirmed his opposition to it. "My view is that marriage itself is between a man and a woman," the presumptive GOP nominee said. Americans remain roughly split on the issue, although (not entirely reliable) poll data suggests that support for same-sex marriage has been rising in recent years. Will the contrast between the two candidates' positions hurt Romney by driving away independents and young voters, or help him by rallying reluctant conservatives to his side?
This solves Romney's problem with conservatives: "If Mitt Romney really wants to show he's conservative," says Donald Douglas at American Power, "the president couldn't have handed him a better opportunity." The Right has been notoriously wary of Romney, and remember, the flaw with same-sex marriage polling is that people who oppose gay marriage shy from admitting the truth, for fear that they'll be attacked as "bigots." Standing up to zealots of political correctness is sure to make Romney a hero to many voters.
"President Obama backs homosexual marriage"
Huh? This won't help Mitt at all: Gay marriage is the last thing Romney wants to talk about, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. Mitt needs to define himself for voters as "the candidate of economic recovery" before Obama successfully brands him as the most conservative GOP nominee since Barry Goldwater. Every minute Romney spends discussing gay marriage helps Democrats portray him as an arch-conservative "who's preoccupied with 'values' issues while swing voters are worried about jobs."
"Romney scolds reporter after social-issues questions: 'Aren't there issues of significance that you’d like to talk about?'"
It helps and hurts Romney: On the plus side, Romney's gay marriage stance "could be the opening he was looking for with Hispanics... who tend to be socially conservative," says Christian Heinze at The Hill. But at the same time, Mitt has been fighting the "utterly ridiculous argument that the GOP is trying to take the nation back to the 1950s," and he's not going to "seem any more contemporary or fresh standing next to Obama" now. The thing is, it's a mixed bag for Obama, too, so "don't expect either to talk about it too much in the near future."
"The gay marriage decision and 2012 election"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- If Scotland leaves the union, is Northern Ireland next?
- The impossible promise at the heart of Scotland's campaign for independence
- Your 2-year-old doesn't need to go to school
Subscribe to the Week