After months of very carefully managing expectations about his “evolving” position on gay marriage, President Obama suddenly found himself last week careening between powerful forces like the steel ball in Elton John’s “pinball wizard.” His own Vice President threw him into the pinball machine, and then his Education Secretary thrust the plunger, launching him into game.
This whole scene began unfolding the Sunday before North Carolina voters were to cast ballots on a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman. At the same time that Biden was popping off that he was “very comfortable” with men marrying other men, polls were starting to show that the marriage amendment would likely pass. This after Obama had publicly opposed the North Carolina marriage amendment. Recall that North Carolina is so important to Obama’s reelection plans that he selected the state to host the Democratic nominating convention this September. Obama’s response to this unfolding drama was to cancel a scheduled Election Day campaign trip to the state. Then Arne Carlson, the barely-known Education Cabinet Secretary, upped the ante telling the nation he supported same-sex marriage, too.
That was all the left needed to set Obama careening between Hollywood, gay marriage groups, and back to Hollywood. Under pressure from gay activists who reportedly are responsible for raising one out of every six dollars for his reelection campaign, and facing a packed fundraising event at George Clunie’s Beverly Hills mansion where he was expected to face pointed questions about his position, Obama cried “uncle” and said he had finally concluded what was long suspected, that he supported same-sex marriage.
The left is jumping for joy at their accomplishment, forcing President Obama out of the closet on gay marriage. Their celebration will be short-lived, though, because they have very likely cost him the presidency.
The presidential election is not going to be decided in states like California where George Clunie and Nancy Pelosi are cheering President Obama’s gay marriage “evolution,” but based on how voters in a series of swing states cast their ballots – states like North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada. President Obama and his buddies on the left have thrust the issue of same-sex marriage front and center in these swing states. How is that going to play? Not well for Obama.
Voters in each of these swing states have previously passed marriage amendments preserving marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman. In other words, by overwhelming majorities, voters in these states have specifically rejected same-sex marriage. How big a majority? From a low of 56% (Colorado) to a high of 70% (Nevada).
The average margin of victory among these six swing states on marriage amendment votes was 61.33%, which almost precisely matches the vote that North Carolina voters cast last week in favor of their marriage amendment. That’s a far bigger majority than any candidate for president could ever hope to achieve in these states. Keep in mind, too, that some of the same activists who urged President Obama to endorse gay marriage were predicting the weekend before the North Carolina vote that the marriage amendment would fail. (This includes gay marriage activists and media activists at the New York Times, among other publications.) Instead, a broad and deep coalition of voters, including a plurality of Democrats, a majority of Independents and an overwhelming majority of Republicans and African Americans supported the marriage amendment.
As the Cheerleader-in-Chief for gay marriage, President Obama will now have to return to North Carolina – and Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado and Nevada – and explain why his administration is actively undermining the overwhelming votes they cast in support of traditional marriage, and in opposition to same-sex marriage. This will be especially difficult for Obama when talking with African Americans, who oppose gay marriage by a two-to-one margin.
Why is support for traditional marriage so strong and passionate? Very simply, because for many people of faith God is the author of marriage. When politicians like President Obama tell voters they should support same-sex marriage, they are asking voters to ignore their religious values and beliefs and accept as truth what they fundamentally do not believe to be true.
President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage not only drives a wedge between himself and the heretofore strongest element his winning coalition – African Americans — but he has powerfully connected social conservatives and, especially, evangelicals at the hip of Mitt Romney. As the primary season showed, many of these voters were not entirely convinced that Romney would be a strong advocate for their positions. Additionally, white evangelicals often fail to vote in elections except when moral issues are on the ballot. Now they are faced with a clear choice: stay home and give a tacit boost to Barack Obama and risk same-sex marriage becoming the law of the land, or support Mitt Romney and preserve God’s definition of marriage.
Voters in thirty-two states have cast ballots in support of traditional marriage measures and against same-sex marriage. President Obama has tied his presidency to a cause that has never been successful with voters – not in a single state – not at any time. What the president has done is give incredibly powerful motivation to hundreds of thousands of social conservatives, and especially evangelicals, across America to rally behind Mitt Romney if they want to preserve marriage – and they most decidedly DO want to preserve marriage.
Because of President Obama’s decision to come out of the closet on gay marriage – having been forced out by the bumbling Joe Biden and the barely known Arne Carlson – people of faith in swing states across America will come to know that the future of marriage is on the line, and as they have demonstrated in countless successful election contests across this country, they will not fail the cause of marriage.
Frank Schubert is President of Mission: Public Affairs, LLC, a firm specializing in social issues, and has managed successful marriage campaigns in California, Maine, Iowa and, most recently, North Carolina. He has won 32 of the 36 statewide ballot initiative campaigns he’s handled across the country.