Obama About To Endorse Same-Sex Marriage?

There’s an awful lot of speculation today that President Obama is going to have something new to say about same-sex marriage when he sits down for an interview at the White House this afternoon:

The prevailing wisdom right now is that President Obama is going to have to take some kind of position on gay marriage at this point, and not something equivocal.

His team is keeping tight-lipped about what’s to come at the Robin Roberts taping. But there is a sense that Vice President Joe Biden’s comments pushed things forward in unstoppable fashion, and it may be better for Obama to say what most people already believe he thinks now instead of later.

If he does, will it hurt him in swing states, especially in the wake of the the North Carolina gay marriage ban passing Tuesday night? Depends on who you ask. There remains fear among some Democrats that it will hurt Obama in swing states if he supports it.

But the likelihood that North Carolina was going to be the clincher for Obama’s re-election is slim anyway – the bigger issues are Ohio and Pennsylvania, for instance, where his decision could have some impact with conservative Democrats.

But there’s the bigger issue for Obama now, which is that it has become a political problem that is larger for the specific issue – and looking weak is potentially more dangerous to him than taking a social issue stand in an economy-driven election.

A smart Republican operative who’s worked presidential races put it this way, arguing that it might hurt Obama most with black (and maybe Hispanic) voters, but “even that will be minimal.”

As I’ve said before, I think that’s largely correct. African-American voters certainly aren’t going to start voting Republican simply because of the same-sex marriage issue, and they also are unlikely to pass up the opportunity to re-elect the nation’s first African-American President just because of this issue. This would seem to be as good a time as any for the White House to get the criticism about equivocating on the issue behind them and move forward.

Andrew Sullivan doesn’t seem entirely impressed with the prospect of a Presidential announcement:

Some are saying he will make news. I doubt it, and I don’t much care. The Congress and the states are the players here – not the president. And this desperate desire among some gays for some kind of affirmation from one man is a little sad.

Perhaps. In either case, I’m sure we’ll here something from ABC News in a few hours if there’s news.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Gender Issues, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Scotch Man says:

    I believe it’s on everyone including the President to steer the dialogue where we can move this country out of the dark ages on this matter. I’m a small government minded guy but at the same time, a group of people had their pursuit of happiness put on the ballot yesterday and it lost. It’s the President’s, Congress’, really anybody’s job to stand up and denounce them in defense of liberty. Not that politicians are known for such things, quite the opposite, but it’s an important gesture I believe.

  2. Some are saying he will make news. I doubt it, and I don’t much care. The Congress and the states are the players here – not the president.

    And indeed, the only place he could have played a role, as an advocate for increased public acceptance of same-sex marriage, would have required to him to take a stand back when it was still unpopular.

    Coming out now only once polls have showed we’re past the tipping point in terms of public acceptance of this issue is just waiting to see where the parade is going and then jumping in front and claiming to be the drum major.

  3. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Maybe I’m getting cynical in my dottage, but I have a feeling that he will express dismay at yesterday’s amendment by stating that we shouldn’t constitutionalize discrimination but still won’t have “evolved” fully towards a pro-marriage equality position.

  4. Peacewood says:

    Yeah, I would be shocked if he chose to advocate SSM tonight.

    Why bother handing the R’s an enthusiasm advantage in the fall? (Note that I am not necessarily supportive of this position from Obama, but it is a logical if cold-blooded calculus.)