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Obama Stands Up For Politics, Not Gay Marriage

equality rally
Photo courtesy of towleroad/Flickr

Obama’s recent announcement of support for gay marriage is overshadowed by the sheer political nature of the announcement. If you doubt me, look at these three glaring political tactics.

1. Testing: before Obama’s announcement, there were two big members of the president’s inner circle that tested the waters of public opinion on the issue of gay marriage. I believe that the statements of support for gay marriage by Vice President Joe Biden and Education secretary Anne Duncan were not accidental. Not only were the earlier statements helpful for gauging public opinion (the important factor here being that 57% of independents support gay marriage), they helped to prime the public’s interest before the big reveal.

2. Timing: if Obama really wanted to support gay marriage, he would have come out in support of it BEFORE North Carolina voted on marriage defining Amendment One. Amendment One did not change Obama’s mind (the vote in New York apparently did that over six months ago) so there was no reason for Obama to speak out now other than to catch the momentum of public attention from North Carolina’s vote.

3. Timidity: Obama has not yet recognized a “right” of gays to marry. He has only come to a carefully worded “personal opinion” with the added emphasis that same sex couples “should” be able to marry. For any supporter of the right to gay marriage, this new declaration should be troubling. I’m not the only one to point this out, see here.

Bonus: There is one other way to read the entire situation, but it is no more flattering. Many believe that Joe Biden put his foot in his mouth (which does happen regularly) and that Obama had to clean up the public’s perception of the administration. While this may be true, the only strong evidence I see for this line of thinking is the reportedly rushed nature of Obama’s ABC interview.

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