Backlash Continues After Obama's Gay Marriage Endorsement
The Denver Post reported Monday night a bill that would have allowed civil unions the same rights as married couples was shot down in a special legislative session.
The House State, Veteranse and Military Affairs Committee voted 5-4 in a party-line vote to keep the legislation from even making it to the House floor for debate.
Sending Senate Bill 2 to the committee in the first place may have been a strategic move, according to the Post:
Monday morning, House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, sent the bill to the state affairs panel, known as a "kill committee" because its members are in safe seats and can shoot down controversial bills with little worry of political consequences.
That move dashed gay-rights supporters' hopes that the special legislative session might give the bill another chance of making it to the House floor, where its bipartisan support would allow it to move to the governor's desk and be signed into law.
And for those opposing the bill, the timing appeared particularly suspicious.
McNulty blamed the governor and statehouse Democrats for trying to force the bill "to the front of the line" ahead of more urgent issues.
"Unlike President Obama, Governor Hickenlooper and their campaign operatives, Colorado families aren't preoccupied with promoting a divisive social agenda - because they have more pressing concerns," McNulty said.
That same skepticism has apparently become prevalent in public sentiment as a response to Obama's endorsement of gay marriage last week.
A New York Times/CBS News poll found 67 percent of surveyed respondents thought Obama had made the comments "mostly for political reasons," with just 24 percent saying he did so "mostly because he thinks it is right."
According to the Times, these numbers serve as confirmation for the White House regarding concerns that the announcement would look "calculated."
From The Times:
Mr. Obama, who had said since late 2010 that his position on the issue was “evolving,” finally proclaimed his support for same-sex marriage only after Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did so first in a television interview.
“If Biden hadn’t said something, I don’t think he would have said anything either,” Larry Gannon, 48, a graphic artist from Norwalk, Calif. and an independent, said in a follow-up interview.
Holly Wright, 67, an independent from Smithfield, Va., who works in the food industry, said she believed that Mr. Obama had concluded that more Americans approved of same-sex marriage. “He believes it will help him win the election,” she said. “In other words, say what the majority of the people want to hear.”
Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Paul West cited three other polls—by ABC/Washington Post, Gallup and the Pew Research Center. Excluding the ABC/WaPo poll, which found independent swing voters were more likely to view the position favorably, all results thus far have been decidedly negative for the incumbent president
Generally though, West said the discouraging numbers are not terribly foreboding.
From the L.A. Times' Politics Now blog:
Overall, the poll data, particularly among voters in the middle who typically decide close elections, would seem to validate Obama’s earlier decision to avoid endorsing same-sex marriage prior to Nov. 6.
These new poll numbers also should encourage at least a measure of skepticism toward claims, by the president’s aides and advisers after he decided to make the announcement, that Obama was planning to support gay marriage all along, just not until later in the campaign. At the very least, there remains a question about the degree to which a final, irreversible decision had been made.
For now though, presumptive opponent Mitt Romney, who just received the elusive George W. Bush endorsement, leads in polls with 46 percent over Obama's 43, a margin the New York Times pointed out was still within the plus/minus four percentage points typically attributed to sampling error. The numbers would suggest voters and candidates alike are in for a tight race until November.