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Commentary: Timing of Obama’s gay marriage stand is not surprising

After opposing same-sex marriage before the 2008 election, President Barack Obama seems to have had a change of heart on the issue. But is a change of heart the real reason he switched views and supported a nationwide movement to legalize same-sex marriage?

The short answer is no. I am proposing that Obama doesn’t actually believe in same-sex marriage and is still on the fence about the issue. Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden publicly voiced his opinions in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, Obama joined Biden in support of same-sex marriage saying he was now in favor of the issue.

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together,” Obama told ABC News Wednesday. “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Interesting thought. Even more interesting because it comes just one day after the Gallup polling company releases a poll titled, “Half of Americans Support Legal Gay Marriage.”

The poll found that 65 percent of Democrats thought that same-sex marriage “should be legal.”

That is to be expected.

The poll found that 22 percent of Republicans thought that same-sex marriage “should be legal.”

No surprises here.

But here is the kicker: The poll found that 57 percent of registered Independent voters thought that same-sex marriage “should be legal.”

I am not in Obama’s head. I do not know his thoughts, I cannot experience what he has experienced or know if he has had a change a heart. But for a man who kicked off a re-election campaign on Saturday on Ohio State’s campus, a man who is vying for a second term in the White House, a man who changed what appeared to be a core value, the timing seems off.

While I can’t comment on how close I think the election will be, and I can’t comment on how badly Obama is working for votes, I can say that this “change in heart” looks suspiciously close to a political ploy for votes.

Within a week of kicking off his campaign and a day after a poll from the most reputable polling company in the world, Obama now agrees with what the poll calls “half of Americans.”

Last time I checked, votes from half of America would just about win an election.

“What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Obama said in 2004.

His thoughts on same-sex marriage have publicly evolved over time, and I have no doubt he has been struggling with the issue on a personal, religious level.

“I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage,” Obama said in 2010.

In the thick of his re-election bid, in the middle of a personal struggle for his own personal truth, this change in heart on this controversial policy issue now appears to be nothing but a plea for votes.

It should be noted that the legalization of same-sex marriage is an issue that is handled by state governments. Whether Obama has any power in legalizing same-sex marriage in any state, he might have curiously turned a deep personal struggle into a re-election scheme.

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