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Same-sex marriage should not be a political issue

Published: Monday, May 14, 2012

Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012 13:05

Since President Barack Obama expressed his support for same-sex marriage last week, he has been heralded with rainbow halos and dubbed the “first gay president” by Newsweek. But he has also faced harsh criticism, including being accused of having “shaken his fist at God” by Franklin Graham, an evangelist and the son of the traditional presidential spiritual adviser.

But little has changed since last week, other than that same-sex marriage has been thrown into the political arena as an additional wedge between
voters.

Same-sex marriage is still banned in 12 states via statute and 30 states via state constitutions, including the addition of North Carolina last week.

According to the Washington Post, Obama said in 2004 that he supported civil unions, but that he “did not believe” same-sex marriages were “practical,” and decisions should be left to the states. Yet in 1996, he said he favored legalizing same-sex marriage and would fight to do so, according to the Huffington Post. 

“I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue,” he said.

But while Obama’s statements have no effect on the legality of same-sex marriage, his “evolution” seems to mirror that of the nation’s. 

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll from March found that 49 percent of Americans favor gay marriage, an increase of 8 percent from 2009, and up from 30 percent in 2004. About 40 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage, according to
the poll.

But issues of civil liberties, as same-sex marriage can be defined as under the “self-evident” truths of the Declaration of Independence that grants all individuals “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” should not be used for voting pockets, and if this was the game Obama was looking to play, he may have played his cards wrong.

According to a Gallup poll released the day after Obama’s ABC interview, 60 percent of Americans said his statements made no difference in their
likelihood to vote for him in the November elections. But of the polled voters who said it would make a difference, 26 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for him. Within independent voters — a pocket both Obama and the GOP are trying to woo — 23 percent of voters said they were less likely to vote for Obama, while 11 percent said they were more likely to vote for him. 

The issue of same-sex marriage should not be used as a carrot or stick by either party.

It is, above all, a matter of the rights of those individuals living in a country that claims to protect its people. If marriage is a path to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, no legislative measures should be made to bar it, and politics should stray away from interfering
with it.

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