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Obama For Gay Marriage: A Day After

Matt Pressberg |
May 10, 2012 | 4:10 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

 Gay Marriage Rally (Beatrice Murch/Flickr)
Gay Marriage Rally (Beatrice Murch/Flickr)
One day after President Obama made a landmark public statement announcing his support for gay marriage, which some say was nudged forward by Vice President Joe Biden's announced support for it this past weekend, another world leader also came forward.

Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand broke his longtime silence on issue, providing a statement to the Associated Press in which he declared that he was "not personally opposed to gay marriage."

President Obama's opponent in this fall's general election, Mitt Romney, confirmed his position opposing gay marriage yesterday, but according to the Washington Post, refrained from further comment on the issue while campaigning in Nebraska today.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a political independent and longtime supporter of marriage equality, called Romney out. "“My hope would be that Gov. Romney also evolves," said Bloomberg today, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Rep. John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, declined to take a firm stance on this issue during his weekly briefing today.According to the Huffington Post, Boehner replied to several questions on marriage equality with the same refrain, "I'm going to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on, and that's jobs." This is a sharp contrast to the 2004 election, in which Boehner's home state of Ohio had a highly-publicized gay marriage ballot initiative, and the issue itself was heavily campaigned on.

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, disagreed with President Obama wanting to "change thousands of years of thinking about marriage." Bristol Palin famously gave birth to an out-of-wedlock child during her mother's campaign. 

Firebrand Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) predicted that this position taken by Obama would hurt him with religious African-American voters in the fall. In an interview with ABC News, West said:

"I think it’s going to cause an incredible discussion in the black community, because, as you know, on Sundays in the black community the most conservative people in America are in those black churches." 

In a Time Magazine blog post, author Toure touched on those themes:

"This step could endanger Obama in the South, in heavily religious states and with black Americans. Supporting marriage equality could damage his chances for re-election. It’s an issue that strikes how people feel about the core values of their nation and their Bible."

However, not all religious African-Americans stand opposed to marriage equality. Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton both spoke in favor of the president's comment today, with Jackson saying he did not go far enough in defending gay rights from state laws, according to the Los Angeles Times:

"If the states had to vote on slavery, we would have lost the vote," Jackson said. "If we had to vote on the right [for blacks] to vote, we would have lost that vote."

It is early to say what kind of impact President Obama's stance on marriage equality will have six months from now, but for the President of the United States to take a position that would have been well out of the mainstream even a decade ago shows how quickly support for gay marriage has mobilized.

Reach Executive Producer Matt Pressberg here.



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