*Please note this is my journalistic opinion and as such I make no claim of objectivity
American President Barack Obama has “come out” as a supporter of federally legalising same sex marriage in the United States.
The news was revealed in an interview held ABC news wherein Obama stated “I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbours, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,”
I whole heartedly support this decision but worry about the intent behind the reveal, It is thought by many (myself included) that the announcement came about because his party’s (The Democrats) pre-existing attitude of support for the cause .Whether his sudden support is the result of growing pressure from his peer’s or simply his true intentions is unknown but I personally believe in the latter. When previously questioned on the matter before his announcement he can be quoted as saying that although he doesn’t feel America is ready for same-sex marriage his opinions on the matter are “evolving”. This to me sounds like a man who has thought heavily on the subject manner and has considered what both his detractors and supporters are going to think about this important news. It is my journalistic opinion that because of his previous statements and his pre-existing political leanings, show that his announcement was not the result of hair-trigger reaction to political pressure.
One of the biggest questions that is being asked is why now has he reversed his stance on same-sex marriage and although there are many theories and possible reasons I think the strongest can be seen when you study the reaction that the public showed his fellow democrats such as Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Vice-President Joe Biden received when they revealed their stance supporting the issue.
If you look at Joe Biden he is known as a calm, reserved speaker who according to political analyst Mark Halperin is known to say “offensive, and off-putting things” but when he spoke to a gay rights activist who asked “How do you Feel about us(Gay Couples)” he replied by speaking about their adopted children, saying” I wish every American could see the look of love those kids had in their eyes for you guys then they wouldn’t have any doubt”, for this he received an inpouring of positive feedback for his touching and genuine sounding words and beliefs. He later went on to further state “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights, Who do you love and will you be loyal to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out what all marriages at their root are about. Whether they are marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals”. After seeing the support and acclaim Biden and others received it is my journalistic opinion that it gave Obama the courage and knowledge that America might finally be ready for its first pro-gay president!
However that does not mean to say I’m not concerned about the timing, I believe the timing of his announcement is unfortunate as the next presidential election is less than 6 months away and this announcement means that potential voters who judged Obama on this issue will now flock to his biggest opponent Mitt Romney who is a staunch opponent of Same-sex marriage and succinctly summarises his platform in this quote “I believe that marriage should be reserved for a relationship between one man and one woman” and since America has a large religious foundation it means Obama is alienating one of the biggest target audiences his country has to offer(and arguably the most powerful too). However this works both ways as this reversal of policy may earn him the votes of the equally passionate pro-gay supporters and greater support by his own party members who predominately support the issue.
In conclusion I hope that despite some of the issues this news has brought forward, it is ultimately for the better and if put in place will supply what is essentially a basic civil right to a large amount of American citizens that does no harm to anyone other than those with out-dated morality systems. Nonetheless we will not see the full effect of this announcement until Tuesday, November 6, 2012.