The Washington Post

The Obama effect: Marriage equality gains ground

A new Post-ABC News poll shows more evidence that President Obama’s announcement of support on May 9 for marriage equality may have had the power to change hearts and minds. Opposition to allowing same-sex couples to marry hit an all-time low while support is at a high.

Those giving the thumbs-up to gay nups stands at 53 percent. That’s an astounding 17-point turnaround since 2006. The number of those against is now down to 39 percent. A more startling datum shows support among African Americans spiking to 59 percent. The Post notes that this is up 18 points from polls taken before Obama’s announcement. This result comes after The Post poll last week showed that 54 percent of blacks supported the president on his completed “evolution.” Sure, the sample size of black voters in both polls was small, but that level of support is still noteworthy.

Of course, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is apoplectic over the rapid change of American public opinion. It’s especially perturbed by what appears to be a shift in black views.
Frank Schubert, NOM’s political director had this to say to The Post: “There is not a chance in God’s green earth that African Americans support same-sex marriage.” If my own born-again Christian mother is any indicator, Schubert doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Besides, Schubert’s views on blacks and marriage equality are not to be trusted. Remember, NOM is the same organization that was revealed to have a secret divide-and-conquer strategy that involved pitting white gays against black Democrats. Part of the plan was to “[f]ind, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.” It went on to say, “No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.”

But that’s exactly what Obama did. He’s doing just fine. And support for same-sex couples and their families most likely is up today because of what he did.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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