Obama's Gay Stance Energizes Conservatives

Saturday, 12 May 2012 10:48 AM

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President Barack Obama’s endorsement Wednesday of same-sex marriage may benefit Mitt Romney by provoking a strong pro-Romney turnout at the polls by once-skeptical evangelicals and other social conservatives, The Washington Post reports.

“So many people were rather lukewarm toward Governor Romney and were really looking for some more tangible reasons to support him,” Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, told the Post. “Then lo and behold, it just fell out of the sky when Obama came out and endorsed same-sex marriage. ... We are going to make this our key issue: the attack on marriage.”

Meanwhile, reports the Post, the National Organization for Marriage, a leading anti-gay-marriage group, has now publicly promised to campaign against Obama “ceaselessly” in swing states.

It’s not all gravy for Romney, however. Some on the religious right remain concerned about his statements supporting the right of gay couples to adopt children.

“Romney says he is for traditional marriage and then immediately says he is fine with homosexuals adopting children,” David Lane, who helped lead anti-gay-marriage efforts in Iowa, California and other states, told the Post. “Our base does not react well to that. They are not going to turn out [for a candidate] who tries to triangulate” on marriage and other traditional values.

Justin Peery, 27, a Virginia filmmaker, told the Post he plans to vote for Romney this fall but is not passionate about his candidacy. That could change, he said, if Romney firmly denounced Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage.

“This could really be a difference-maker,” said J.C. Church, pastor of the Victory in Truth Ministries in Bucyrus, Ohio. “People will get fired up on this issue. North Carolina is an indication — this will awaken the conservative evangelicals to become aware, and the result will be action.”

But Robert Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, said the GOP presidential candidate would do best to focus on jobs and other economic issues.

“In Ohio, there are people on both sides of the issue who have largely made up their minds,” Bennett said. “Obviously it’s going to unite the social conservatives who maybe had some doubts about Romney, but there are other issues to unite people. This is more of a sidebar issue now.”


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