A U.S. president has openly supported same sex marriages for the first time in history. Although it happened in a very clumsy manner, Barack Obama has taken a bold step that could have dire politcal implications for his presidential campaign.
Even though the president voiced his opinion in a very public manner, nothing has changed for gays and lesbians. His "evolutionary" comment was not accompanied by a call for legislation or constitutional action. In fact, the president ultimately punted the issue back to the states, which are responsible for civil issues such as marriage. The federal governmnent is responsible for civil rights violations, which some supporters of same sex marriage say is exactly what is happening by not allowing same sex couples to marry.
But, the president has, in effect, politicized an issue that has previously been a matter of religion and personal choice. The ramifications of doing so could result in a political tsuanmi in November. For liberals, the situation is static; they are in favor of same sex marriages for the most part, and pro Obama. For all others, the presidential proclamation may have made the election much more personal.
Americans vote for candidates who represent their opinions and beliefs. Until now, moderate and conservative voters who are against same sex marriage were concerned with a plethora of other issues such as the economy, wars, energy, etc. But now, the same sex issue is front and center and many voters will likely cast ballots against Obama because of his position and the increased odds that someday same sex marriage will be legal throughout the country.
It is difficult to quantify the effect of the same sex marriage issue on the elections, but it is safe to say it will be significant as many states have voted more conservatively in recent elections, partly due to Tea Party influence.
I am in total support of same sex marriage so I respect the president for finally coming clean; I only wonder why he waited this long to "come out." Thank you Joe Biden and Arne Duncan. However, I do not believe this issue should be the most important one during the campaign. There are much more pressing issues that should dominate the debates and the airwaves.