Obama and Gay Rights: 2012 Edition

To the consternation of many, President Obama has managed to avoid taking a strong position on potentially polarizing issues like same-sex marriage without completely losing the support of the GLBTQ constituency. But will his strategically noncommittal stance work in the next election cycle? Let’s consider the key variables in the political mix this time around.

The New York Times:

Some gay rights advocates believe that Mr. Obama will declare his support for same-sex marriage before the election — both because polling data shows a sharp increase in voter support for it among crucial groups, and because two pending court rulings on marriage rights will make it harder to justify the president’s position that his views are still evolving.

“My core argument is that you’ve got a lot to win and not a lot to lose,” said Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, a group that campaigns for marriage rights. “It would remove a constant irritating false note, and it would allow him to tap into an unmitigated good stream of energy.”

Interviews with administration officials, however, suggest that the president believes he can stand pat and still win a large majority of gay votes, based on his track record, which includes his decision not to defend a 1996 law that defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.

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