2010 Archives

Gay marriage ruling creates political trap for Obama


The following is from the August 6, 2010, edition of The Washington Examiner. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

August 6, 2010

By Julie Mason
Examiner White House Correspondent

A California judge's ruling that effectively legalized gay marriage in the state creates a new campaign issue for the fall with no easy fallback for President Obama.

While he opposes gay marriage in favor of civil unions, Obama also opposed California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage, calling it, in the words of one adviser, "mean-spirited."

"The president does oppose same-sex marriage, but he supports equality for gay and lesbian couples, and benefits and other issues," senior adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC. "He supports civil unions, and that's been his position throughout. So nothing has changed."

But striking that middle distance could get tougher for Obama as his party looks to secure an advantage in November by activating its political base.

"Obama's supporters feel like he's not energetic enough in pushing his and their agenda," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University. "And his opponents feel like they are being overwhelmed by action on issues they don't like."

The White House put out a short statement on the ruling, but Obama is not likely to bring it up — or even talk about much, if he can avoid it.

"He will want to talk about it as little as he possibly can," Jillson said.

Read the full story.

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