Is the Democratic Party's Gay Marriage Platform Good Politics?
The Democratic National Committee recently announced that gay marriage will be included in the party platform for the first time ever. The party embrace of same-sex marriage comes after President Barack Obama officially announced his support in May.
The president had largely been mum on the politically charged issue, and some see his endorsement as a campaign move in the extremely heated election season. Official party inclusion of gay marriage could both help turn out donors and energize voters for Obama and the Democrats, but could also alienate other portions of the Democratic base. African-Americans and Latinos, both more socially conservative groups, largely lean Democratic but have historically been more likely to oppose same-sex marriage.
The Republican Party and its presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney do not endorse gay marriage, and instead say they support "traditional marriage," or defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. The party has supported amendments around the country restricting the definition of marriage as such.
Nationally, popular support for gay marriage has increased, but official Democratic endorsement is unlikely to make a large difference in the election because supporters are already likely to vote Democratic anyway. The 2012 presidential campaign has also mainly focused on the still-struggling economy, as high unemployment and a weak housing market remain Americans' greatest concerns.