The president’s decision to endorse same-sex marriage is a great disappointment for many people. His statement—which he announced Wednesday—is of great concern to those who still believe in traditional marriage.
These people fall into two major categories—those whose belief systems are informed by their spiritual background and those who have been convinced that redefining marriage will be a horrible social experiment that will further weaken America’s declining structure.
Many in the faith community have suspected for some time that the president’s announcement was coming. It seems as though the administration feels that this moment will bolster the same-sex marriage movement from the crushing defeat it experienced in North Carolina.
There are two outcomes I believe the president’s advisers have not anticipated: (1) His announcement will strengthen future campaigns for the remaining states pushing a marriage amendment. In the state of Maryland, in particular, the already-successful petition process will be injected with a new fuel of enthusiasm and intensity. (2) Although many political analysts believe this announcement will blow over by November, they seem to forget that President Bush won Florida and Ohio in 2004 because of a 7 to 11 percent shift in the black vote alone.
In this election season, we all are aware that the economy will be the big story of the day. Nonetheless, current polls show a small margin of difference between both the presidential candidates and numerous other races around the country.
It may well be that a shift in support will be precipitated by the president’s untimely decision in light of his failure to lift the economic standing of both blacks and Hispanics. These two groups are some of the nation’s most vocal opponents of same-sex marriage. A critical mass of these voters may be pulled from their political moorings, creating an opportunity for the defeat of numerous candidates around the country, including President Obama.
Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. is the senior pastor of Hope Christian Church, a 3,000-member congregation in the Washington, D.C., area.