Two weeks after the president publicly embraced same-sex marriage, the Obama campaign on Wednesday announced an effort to mobilize gay and lesbian supporters in key states including Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
The move, described in a campaign conference call to reporters, includes a Web site, as well as planned volunteer training, phone banks and house parties.
The roll-out comes as a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows support of same-sex marriage at an all-time high of 53 percent.
As far as the November election, however, polling suggests that Obama’s decision on gay marriage may not be much of a game-changer: 55 percent of adults said that the president’s announcement is “not a major factor” in their decision on which candidate to support; the percentage of respondents citing it as a reason to support Obama is about the same as the percentage citing it as a reason to oppose Obama.
Some Christian conservatives say that Obama’s backing of same-sex marriage has energized those on the religious right. Indeed, shortly before the Obama campaign’s announcement of the LBGT effort, the social-conservative group Family Research Council announced that its president, Tony Perkins, would hold a Capitol news conference on Thursday with Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and several pastors to reiterate their support for the Defense of Marriage Act. The law bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
Democrats appear poised to use the issue against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Joe Solmonese, Obama national campaign co-chairman and the outgoing president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, argued during Wednesday’s conference call that “at the core” of Romney’s beliefs on gay rights is “his commitment to work to pass a federal marriage amendment.” That effort, Solmonese said, amounts to “the enshrining of discrimination into the United States Constitution.”
“The fear of the progress that we are making with regard to our success in marriage equality is genuine, and it is palpable,” Solmonese said. “So, I think the fight to get that done is real if he were to become president.”