Whether we like it or not, what the President of the United States says matters and resonates across the globe. After sitting on the fence for years and dipping his toes in the water to test the electoral temperature, President Obama has finally come out in support of marriage equality. In an interview with ABC News, the President said:
“I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
It’s a simple but powerful statement. Despite self-righteous firebrands flooding the airwaves with their messages of hell and damnation, and battalions of bigots storm-trooping shopping malls, support for marriage equality across America has been steadily rising for years. According to some recent polls, it now exceeds 50%. The President will have followed the polls very carefully. It’s an election year after all. Did President Obama nail his colours to the mast at this delicate stage of the (very) long American election cycle in a cynical attempt to garner extra liberal votes? Perhaps, but what’s said cannot be unsaid.
In Blighty, expect the Government to back-paddle furiously on the proposal to legalise civil marriage for same sex couples in the ridiculous belief that it contributed to their disastrous showing in recent local elections. Sure, this will have lost them a few votes among the (electorally insignificant) religious right and blue-rinse brigade. Let’s get real. To quote Bill Clinton’s famous line, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
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