We’ve now gone from the question of when will President Obama come out in support of same-sex marriage to will that support it help or hurt him. I believe that it will help him and help us as a GLBT community.
With Obama’s complete evolution on the subject, people who may be struggling themselves with the issue now have a prominent person they can look to who is just like them. As Obama begins to talk about his process of evolution–and he will because people are going to ask–folks who are evolving or even doubtful themsleves will have someone with whom they can identify. Obama is very articulate when he voices his thoughts and decision making processes. That articulation is going to resonate with those who are struggling with the issue of same-sex marriage and help to move them forward or help them complete their own evolution.
There is now a stark contrast in postions between Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama. As Mitt Romney reiterated in Colorado, he does not favor same-sex marriage or civil unions should they be “identical to marrige.” His support of civil unions seems to be more of a parmesan cheese sprinking of benefits for same-sex couples. This is a position that he is going to have to defend as the campaign continues on. I do not think that his defense is going to play well up against Obama’s reasoning to be supportive of same-sex couples.
The rhetoric of those who oppose same-sex marriage is moving more and more to the right. With that move it is becoming more and more caustic. We saw in the North Carolina campaign people saying all sorts of nasty things about GLBT people and now that vitirol will be transfered to the national stage. It’s one thing to say that Dan Savage is a bully, religously intolerant, hastening the demise of morality and western civilization itself; it’s a completely different thing to make those same statements about the President of the United States. When that happens, the general populous is going to be much more willing to push back and rally around the President.
We’ve recently seen support coalesce for an organization that is supportive of GLBTs. Starbucks supports Washington State’s law allowing same-sex couples to marry. The National Organizaiton for Marriage tried to organize a boycott of Starbucks because of their position. Their boycott was fast outpaced by those who supported Starbucks. And Starbucks stock rose because of it. We saw this same kind of trend for Ellen Degeneres when she became a spokesperson for JC Penny. He social stock rose because she was being attacked by anti-gay people and organizations.
I expect that President Obama’s social, political, and polling stock will all follow this same trend. As it does, he will become more comfortable with discussing his support of same-sex marriage. Obama is another one of histories great orators. He has the ability to help fire up a crowd around his words and, by extension, his ideas. This attribute is infectious. His abiltiy to speak with inteligence, power and grace carries its own potential to affect people in a positve way. And that’s good for us as a GLBT community. His verbalization skills have the ability to help change hearts and minds, which may be the best reason all as to why his support will be good for him and good for us.