Could Obama Kill the California Gay Marriage Ban?

Barack Obama opposes Proposition 8 in California, which would ban gay marriage. But, other than announce his opposition, he hasn't been actively involved in the ...
by | October 30, 2008
 

Barack Obama opposes Proposition 8 in California, which would ban gay marriage. But, other than announce his opposition, he hasn't been actively involved in the campaign. Now, some gay rights supporters are asking him to do more. Here's Andrew Sullivan:

As expected, one reason Proposition 8, stripping gay couples of marriage equality, is still viable in California is because of strong African-American support. Black Californians back the anti-gay measure by a margin of 20 points, 58 - 38, in the SUSA poll. No other ethnic group comes close to the level of opposition and black turnout is likely to be very high next month.

All this makes it vital, in my opinion, that Barack Obama strongly and unequivocally oppose Proposition 8 in California, rather than keeping mainly quiet as he has done so far. We need him to make an ad opposing it.  This is a core test of whether gay Americans should back Obama as enthusiastically as they have in the last month. If he does not stand up for gay couples now, why should we believe he will when he is in office? And if black Americans are the critical bloc that helps kill civil rights for gays, that will not help deepen Obama's governing coalition. It could tear it apart.

Kevin Naff of the Washington Blade makes a similar point.

It's asking a lot of a politician to involve himself in a divisive ballot campaign a few days before he's trying to be elected president of the United States, especially when Obama's position on gay marriage has a level of nuance that only a former law professor could love.

He opposes gay marriage, but opposes both state and federal constitutional amendments to prohibit gay marriage, even in places (like California) where gay marriage is already legal and where, therefore, the practical effect of opposing the constitutional amendment is to allow gay marriage to continue.

Of course, even if Obama isn't involving himself, Prop. 8's opponents could use him in their advertising campaign. 

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.

More from Politics