House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland came out in support of his states yet-to-be-enacted measure legalizing same-sex marriage. Gay-rights advocates say President Barack Obamas public support of gay marriage is shifting the landscape.
“The biggest thing we do is provide staff expertise and boots on the ground,” he said.
They won’t be alone. Opponents of same-sex marriage say their side, too, got a boost when the president publicly backed gay nuptials.
“To us, it was obvious where the president was on the issue; we’re just glad he’s finally telling the truth about it,” said Tom McClusky, senior vice president for the conservative Family Research Council Action. “In Maryland, Washington state and in Maine, what we’re hoping for is this motivates the voters.”
McClusky added that when Obama served in the Senate, the future president sent McClusky’s group a letter saying he supported marriage as between one man and one woman.
“Now, the gloves are off,” McClusky said of Obama’s reversal.
People for the American Way’s Drew Courtney said Obama’s change in position will help other Americans come to the same conclusion.
“I’ve seen reports of politicians who have been inspired to come out in support of marriage equality,” said Courtney, whose liberal organization supports same-sex marriage. “Having the president of the United States take this stand is huge. It’s an issue that Americans struggle with. Everyone has had their own evolution on this.”
The HRC’s Cole-Schwartz said the president’s announcement generated a lot of excitement in the gay-rights lobby.
“Politicians who dig in their heels on an anti-gay point of view are going to be left in the dust,” he said.