Feature

Why Obama isn’t backing gay marriage

President Obama says his views on the issue are “evolving,” though everyone suspects that’s a political dodge.

Josh Kraushaar
National Journal 

Why won’t President Obama come out in support of gay marriage? asked Josh Kraushaar. He says his views on the issue are “evolving,” though everyone suspects that’s a political dodge. It undoubtedly is, but it’s not fear of alienating blue-collar independents that’s behind it, as many assume. Obama is most worried about alienating African-Americans, who remain “among the leading opponents of gay marriage.” Across the country, black Christian churches adamantly oppose gay marriage; even in liberal California, 70 percent of black voters backed the state’s 2008 referendum to ban gay marriage. To win re-election, Obama needs a repeat of the 95 percent support he received from black voters, who were critical in swing states like Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio. Black voters will need to turn out in droves if the president is going to claim swing states this year—but “the same ministers organizing get-out-the-vote efforts in black churches for Obama are also railing against gay marriage.” That gives the president a choice. He has chosen to enhance his chance of re-election.

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