Obama must support marriage equality

Aaron Loudenslager

The GOP presidential primary season is already off to a quick start with Mitt Romney winning both contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, with South Carolina’s contest up next.

The GOP candidates’ views on same-sex marriage and rights so far are quite disturbing. With this in mind, it is time for President Obama’s “evolving” views on same-sex marriage to fully progress and culminate into his endorsement of same-sex marriage for the 2012 presidential election.

Same-sex marriage is a controversial topic, with 53 percent of Americans supporting it compared to 45 percent that don’t, according to a May 2011 Gallup Values and Beliefs poll.

The controversy of this topic has done nothing to affect the GOP presidential field’s frequency of discussing it or tone on the subject itself.

The tone has varied between the narrow beliefs of the candidates in the modern Republican Party. At one extreme end there is former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. Santorum compared same-sex marriage in 2003 as essentially the same as “man on child, man on dog or whatever the case may be.”

In 2011, he said same-sex marriage results in “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to. You may rationalize that that isn’t true, but in your own life and in your own heart, you know it’s true.”

On the other extreme, there is self-described libertarian Ron Paul, who shows a mixed record on same-sex marriage, mostly because of his adherence to “states’ rights.”

In 2007, Rep. Paul responded to a question on same-sex marriage by saying “I am supportive of all voluntary associations and people can call it whatever they want.”

He opposed the federal government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, yet at the same time he supported the federal government’s 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed states to not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

Rep. Paul supports individuals in their endeavor to create a voluntary association with a member of the same-sex.

At the same time, Paul’s views would permit states to deny their citizens the fundamental right to marry a consenting adult whom they love.

Former Sen. Santorum is much worse. He believes same-sex marriage is a threat to the moral fabric of this country, a feeling he also aims at another self-invented moral evil, contraceptive devices. Maybe these are the reasons that people type Santorum into a search engine without wanting to find out about the candidate himself.

An advocate for same-sex marriage has no place in the modern Republican Party it seems. That is why it is time for Obama to fully support same-sex marriage.

As early as 1996, then campaigning for the Illinois state-senate, Obama responded to a newspaper and wrote “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

As Obama ran for President in 2008, he toned down his support for marriage equality saying, “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” citing his religion as the cause of his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Then in June 2011, a Democratic strategist claimed Obama’s views on same-sex marriage were “evolving” because Obama started to think of same-sex marriage in terms of his legacy.

If Obama supported same-sex marriage in the 2012 presidential election, it would be a great political strategy. The majority of Americans support marriage equality and this majority is only going to get larger. There is something much more important than political efficiency or votes though.

We must not forget the faces behind same-sex marriage. I am friends with many people that have intimate relationships with members of the same sex.

One of these friends is my mother. My mother divorced my father during my high school years and she has finally found someone that loves her for who she is. There is no acceptable reason to deny my mother the right to marry the person she loves, if she so chooses.

Some Republicans like Santorum think children are doomed if their parents are of the same sex and won’t have the same quality of life. This is a full-fledged lie.

I have done exceptional with both heterosexual parents and homosexual parents. The sexual orientation made absolutely no difference; all that mattered was the love and support they gave me.

The eventual GOP presidential nominee will not support marriage equality. It is time for President Obama to protect the rights of same-sex couples, as he promised he would do in 1996. If not, who else will fight for the rights of same-sex couples who simply want to be recognized as equals with heterosexual couples?