William Hamilton: Gay marriage, an embrace too soon?
May 15, 2012
Last week was rough on President Obama. In the West Virginia Democratic primary, President Obama’s only opponent was prison inmate Keith Judd, who got 41 percent of the vote. President Obama’s war-on-demon-coal went over so badly in coal-rich West Virginia that the White House announced the president’s thinking about coal is now “evolving.”
In Wisconsin’s GOP primary, incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker, whom the teachers’ union is trying to recall, got 97 percent of the GOP vote. On the Democrats’‚ side, two pro-recall candidates split the vote. In Indiana, the Tea Party defeated Republican Sen. Dick Lugar for being too liberal.
On the eve of a Hollywood fundraiser, polling data showed President Obama losing his grip on the “youth” vote. Miraculously, President Obama’s position on gay marriage “revolved” to support of gay marriage. In 1996, in an Illinois Senate race, President Obama favored gay marriage. But in his U.S. Senate race in 2004 and in his 2008 presidential race, President Obama opposed gay marriage.
Because the “young” rarely bother to vote, switching to gay marriage might not help President Obama at the polls. Moreover, he has now made gay marriage a hot-button social issue sure to bring out traditional-marriage independents and conservatives who, previously, were luke-warm toward the pro-traditional-marriage Mitt Romney. Moreover, many blacks do not favor gay marriage and might stay home on Nov. 6, 2012.
Seven of the nine major “swing” states – Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada, and Wisconsin – all prohibit same-sex marriage. Only two “swing states” allow gay marriage: Iowa by a judge’s court order, New Hampshire by legislation.
In all, 42 states reject gay marriage: 12 states by legislative action and 30 states by state constitution. In 1996, President Clinton (D) signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), meaning the federal government does not recognize gay marriage as legal.
In Colorado, because the Democrat leadership waited until after the Democratic Party caucuses to introduce a gay-marriage bill (wonder why?), the Democrats’ bill ran out of time; however, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) immediately called a special session to try to force through gay marriage. While gays claim this is a “civil-rights” issue, traditional-marriage advocates point out that a simple, written contract – legal in all states – can already provide gays with the same “rights” as a marriage license.
As of this writing, Colorado’s special session outcome is unknown. Bear in mind, Colorado adopted DOMA in 2000 and, in 2006, a state-wide vote rejected gay marriage 53 percent to 47 percent. For sure, Hickenlooper makes gay marriage a major election issue which, on the one hand, may ensure the defeat of any pro-gay-marriage Republican legislators and, on the other hand, could return the entire Colorado General Assembly to GOP control.
Last week in South Carolina, gay marriage went down to flaming defeat. In neighboring North Carolina, where the 2012 Democratic National Convention is slated to be held, gay marriage is illegal both by statute and by state constitution. Some gay activists want the Democratic National Convention moved someplace where same-sex marriage is legal, leaving only Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, or Washington, D.C. as possible locations.
President Obama’s embrace of gay marriage at the $40,000-per-plate Hollywood fundraiser raised $15 million; however, Mr. Romney shot to a seven-point lead in national polls. Moreover, traditional-values voters started pouring money into Mr. Romney’s campaign coffers. Maybe President Obama’s latest “revolution” should have waited until after Nov. 6?
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