Despite the potential repercussions from those who disagree, President Barack Obama finally declared his support of gay marriage May 9. In his announcement on Good Morning America, he stated his views have evolved due to dinner table conversations with his two daughters, who have friends with gay and lesbian parents.
As the first president and presidential candidate to openly support gay marriage, Obama has taken an important step in promoting equality throughout the United States. This stance will not only rally further support from those who support same-sex marriage but also help create a safer environment for gay teens.
“This is really a good thing,” said Derrick Ryan, teacher sponsor of the Gay Straight Alliance. “You have all these kids out there who are taking their lives and who are being bullied and this is what it’s going to take. The more you see things like this in the media, in politics and around you, the less taboo it becomes.”
Half of the country and 65 percent of Democrats support same-sex marriage, according to a poll on gay marriage released by Gallup May 6, meaning that Obama will likely not lose many voters over this proclamation.
Young people, who were a core demographic for Obama in the 2008 election, are the most ardent supporters of same-sex marriage. According to Pew Research Center, 68 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 30 voted for Obama in 2008 and some believe his proclamation will revitalize those younger voters.
“The overall sense of Obama’s presidency is that he hasn’t lived up to the ‘hope’ he projected when he ran,” junior class president Jacob Rosenblum said. “Now, he’s taken a decisive stance on a very sensitive issue that a lot of voters feel separates them from their parents. I think it will bring the youth back out and give them a new sense of hope because he’s now changing the country socially.”
Although this declaration may have come as a result of Joe Biden publically supporting gay marriage just days before, it’s another step in the direction toward equality. Obama is finally standing up for what he believes in, despite possible political backfire, which is a brave decision especially during an election year. Obama is at last renewing a little bit of the hope he promised back in 2008.