President Obama “came out” in support of same sex marriage yesterday. Why he chose now and how he got to this point is irrelevant to me. What does matter is a sitting President is on record supporting marriage equality, and that is a game changer for three crucial reasons.
First, although his support does not change Federal Law, having the public support of the highest elected official in the country matters (and it matters a lot). When Massachusetts legalized Same Sex Marriage on May 17, 2004 it was only because incremental changes and advancements which had started years before came to fruition. Obama’s support is more than an incremental advancement.
Obama’s standing within the African American, Black and Arabic communities here and abroad is without equal. These communities have long been some of the most vocal opposing same sex marriage. Obama’s endorsement and framing the issue as one of equality and fairness will have significant impact on these communities. No doubt there will be some heated sermons in traditionally black churches this Sunday through out the United States.
Lastly, Obama has set a standard which all future Presidential nominees will now be found wanting if they don’t support marriage equality. While this will fire up those opposed to same sex marriage; I believe this is still a gain for the President and for states currently debating legalizing same sex marriage. Americans love to support winners and the prejudicial arguments to oppose same sex marriage is sounding more and more like a losing argument. Obama’s support is a game changer.