Last week, President Obama shocked, surprised and impressed many with his public proclamation supporting same-sex marriage on an interview with ABC.
This public acceptance is a bold step for Obama, or any public official running for re-election.
Same-sex marriage is one of the most polarizing issues in this country, and it has always provoked stark divisions and harsh criticism. This begs the question, why now?
In the wake of his ‘coming out’ on same-sex marriage, President Obama received praise from many in the public and from many media outlets; with the Boston Globe going so far as saying, “President Obama’s support for gay marriage marks the end of an evolution for the President, and to an extent, for the country. Obama based his change of heart on simple fairness…his commitment to gay marriage puts him on the right side of history and demonstrates his willingness to embrace the future.”
This optimistic stance is noble in its message, however, altruism has never been the sole cause of public policy, and this is no exception.
The American public’s acceptance of same-sex marriage has been drastically increasing during the past decade.
As of March 2011, 53 percent of Americans supported the legalization of same sex marriage according to a poll conducted by the Washington Post/ABC News.
This is remarkable, especially in lieu of the fact that in 2007, that percentage was a head and shoulders below at 36 percent.
At this juncture, public support of same-sex marriage seems a valid, if controversial, strategy for the Democratic Party which has never had a strong base in the most traditionally anti same-sex-conservative-Christian demographic anyway.
However, the Christian demographic is in actuality losing its strict opposition to same-sex marriage as well, as an increasing number of parishes across the company contain openly homosexual clergy and increasing percentages of Christians morally okay with same-sex marriage indicate.
The political shrewdness of Obama’s projected image of being a moderate president attempting to be a bringer of change supporting same-sex marriage does not detract from the significance of the declaration itself.
Indeed, any political motivations are of little relevance in comparison to the symbolic value of the Head of State supporting an often berated minority.
Obama deserves a pat on the back, not only for ostensibly strengthening his position in the election through shrewd political timing, but for finally standing for a tangible example of the change he promised America nearly four years ago.
Nick Kintop/Staff writer