President Obama waded into the same-sex marriage ban Friday, announcing his opposition to the constitutional amendment on the state ballot in May.
Why would he get involved in a state issue? Certainly, he thinks he can gain politically in a state that is a key to his re-election strategy.
The latest Elon University Poll showed he may just do that. Fifty-four percent of North Carolinians said they would oppose an amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. Thirty-eight percent support it. In addition, women strongly oppose the amendment banning same-sex marriage. And Obama has to win the female vote to win the election.
The News & Observer quoted Michael Munger, a political scientist at Duke, as saying that Obama has little to lose.
“This is a no-lose political proposition for him,” Munger said. “President Obama gets to come out and say ‘Hey, gay community, I am taking a stand that you care about.’ But by the time November rolls around, no one is going to remember, or the ones that do would have voted against Obama anyway.”
While his stand may help him politically, the question that won’t be answered until May 8 is whether the president’s opposition to the amendment helps the effort to defeat it. His opposition could make the distinction between how people feel and how the amendment is worded on the ballot clearer. Some polls say that people support the amendment when they are asked about it using the specific amendment wording.
From N.C. Policy Watch: The language of that amendment takes the hard line: it would ban all state recognition of same sex couples permanently – whether it’s called “marriage,” “civil union,” or something else.
If this truth is made clear to voters, the amendment will almost certainly fail as voters will quickly view it as too extreme. If, however, voters are allowed to approach the vote as (incorrectly) a simple “up or down” referendum on what they think of same sex “marriage,” it has a strong chance of passage.
– John Robinson