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Ahh, the Republican Primary – what a thrill it has been to watch that hot, sticky mess play out. And while Mitt Romney has emerged as the likely nominee, he hasn’t exactly come out clean. Observers across the political spectrum see him as a flip-flopper. A fake. And, of course, an “Etch-a-Sketch.” His constantly “evolving” beliefs have made for some very sketched-out Republicans, while inspiring endless SNL skits and YouTube rips from Democrats.
Obama, clearly, is loving this, pitching himself as the genuine, reliable alternative to the multiple personalities of Mitt. But his actions on gay marriage have been testing the patience of many of his supporters. Is Obama really keeping it real, or is he just another fake?
Since 2004, Obama has opposed efforts granting LGBTQ people the freedom to marry. Even as his presidency has helped win big gains for the gays through action on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and hate crime legislation, Obama hasn’t really budged on marriage. Although he’s suggested his views on the issue are “evolving,” he’s ignored mounting pressure from Democrats to make a move on gay marriage before the 2012 election.
But Obama’s own record suggests he might be pulling a Romney. In 1996, he told a Chicago newspaper, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” Indeed, Massachussetts Congressman Barney Frank and other Obama groupies argue that the president’s ambivalence is motivated by politics, not ideology; his claim that he opposes gay marriage on religious grounds has been called “a political maneuver,” not a genuine problem of faith.
If Obama really is flip-flopping on this one, he might want to take a look at recent poll numbers showing that more Americans favor marriage equality than oppose it. Is it really so risky for Obama to admit what many see as blatantly obvious – that he supports gay marriage? Especially given the ugly, messy fight ahead, Obama needs to be putting Romney on blast for flip-flopping, not getting caught in contradictions of his own.