Will President Obama's support of gay marriage cost him black votes?
May 10th, 2012
04:09 PM ET

Will President Obama's support of gay marriage cost him black votes?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While President Obama's support for gay marriage is sure to fire up parts of the liberal base, it could alienate others - including black voters.

In other words, backing same-sex marriage might be a risky position for the president in an election year when it comes to one of his core voting blocs.

In 2008, African-Americans were crucial in making Mr. Obama the nation's first black president. Exit polls showed 96% of black voters supported him and they made up 13% of the electorate.

Fast forward four years: While polls suggest America on the whole is moving toward support of same-sex marriage, ABC/Washington Post polling shows 55% of black voters are still against it. That compares to 43% of whites.

And this opposition from blacks could hurt the president - particularly in the South.

Just this week in North Carolina, blacks voted two-to-one in favor of the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

North Carolina is a swing state where near-unanimous black support for Mr. Obama secured his 2008 victory.

So what if even some black voters in a state like North Carolina choose to sit this election out due to the president's support of same-sex marriage?

Groups on both sides of the issue like to compare gay marriage rights to the struggle for civil rights; but many blacks don't like that comparison. And black churches tend to see the issue in religious terms, with ministers playing a big role in the opposition to gay marriage.

While it's unlikely blacks will suddenly decide to vote for Mitt Romney over this, if some of them decide to stay home, it could make a difference in the outcome of the election.

Here’s my question to you: Will President Obama's support of gay marriage cost him black votes?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Is President Obama simply using gay marriage for political gain?
May 9th, 2012
04:52 PM ET

Is President Obama simply using gay marriage for political gain?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Today's definition of political opportunism? Gay marriage.

President Obama has been in office for 3 1/2 years and has artfully dodged the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

Suddenly his vice president, Joe Biden, comes out publicly and says he doesn't see anything wrong with gay marriage.

And right away people want to know where the president stands.

Then the voters of North Carolina go to the polls and overwhelmingly pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Again the questions: Where does the president stand?

Suddenly at 3 o'clock this afternoon, after 3 1/2 years of not answering the question, Mr. Obama decides to take a position.

All of a sudden he thinks same-sex marriage is a good idea.

He's locked in what promises to be a close race against Mitt Romney.

So picking this moment to pander to the gay and lesbian community on the issue of same-sex marriage suits his political purpose, which is to be re-elected.

One of the major broadcast networks interrupts programming to breathlessly report that the president has decided that it's OK for same-sex couples to marry.

Pardon me if I don't hyperventilate over all of this. We have real issues in this country for which President Obama has been glaringly short on answers.

We have more than $15 trillion of debt, an unemployment rate that's an embarrassment for the largest free-market system in the world, a Congress that refuses to agree on whether it's daylight outside or not, and the country is supposed to come to a screeching halt because President Obama was pressured into taking a position on a wedge issue. I'll pass.

Oh, and at the end of the day, it's still up to the states.

Here’s my question to you: Is President Obama simply using gay marriage for political gain?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

July 18th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

When it comes to the gay community, is Michele Bachmann living in the Twilight Zone?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has been a rising star of sorts in a lackluster field of GOP candidates who hope to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. Bachmann came out on top in three separate polls of likely Iowa Republican voters last week.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/07/18/art.bachmann.jpg caption=""]
But Bachmann is running into a lot of criticism for her rather extreme positions on some social issues. Let's begin with the gay community.

Michele Bachmann's husband, Marcus, runs a Christian counseling business. Former clients have said he encourages homosexual patients to try to change their sexual orientation or at least repress it. Critics call it "pray away the gay." In an interview last week with the Minnesota Star Tribune, Marcus Bachmann did not deny that he and other counselors at the clinic use that technique, but he said they only do so at the request of a patient.

Michele Bachmann has been skirting around her own views on homosexuality. But that party is about to come to an end. She recently signed something called "The Marriage Vow" written by a conservative group in Iowa. It's a vow to be faithful to your spouse. Fair enough. But the vow also condemns adultery, pornography and gay marriage. And it describes homosexuality as a choice. In a speech in 2004, Bachmann said that being "involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle" amounts to "personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement."

Comedians and bloggers are having a field day with all of this of course.

On a more serious note, a group called the Human Rights Campaign - a gay rights group - is vowing to go after Ms. Bachmann and her beliefs in the upcoming campaign. They call Michele Bachmann "the very definition of a target rich environment." If they're serious, she could have a problem.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to the gay community, is Michele Bachmann living in the Twilight Zone?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Gay Marriage • Michele Bachmann
July 9th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Agree with judge who says gay marriage ban unconstitutional?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In a ruling that could have far-reaching implications, a Boston federal district court judge has declared the federal ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/09/art.gay.marriage.jpg caption=""]
Judge Joseph Tauro says the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act - which defines marriage as between a man and a woman - denies same-sex couples equal protection under the law.

Massachusetts believes the federal ban denied benefits - including Medicaid - to gay married couples; and the judge agreed, saying the ban on gay marriage forces the state to discriminate against its own citizens. Same-sex unions have been legal in Massachusetts since 2004.

The judge added that the federal ban also goes against the long history of letting states set their own marriage laws, which they've been doing since before the American revolution. Judge Tauro says that laws that once barred interracial marriage caused as much debate as the current battle over gay marriage.

Gay rights activists are, of course, thrilled with this ruling... calling it a "landmark decision."

Opponents say they're sure the decision will be overturned on appeal. They call the ruling "judicial activism" and the work of a "rogue judge." Noting that, when voters go to the ballot box, they consistently reject gay marriage proposals.

Nonetheless - it's really worth watching what happens from here. So far the justice department is only saying it's reviewing the decision; and hasn't decided whether or not to appeal it.

But if a higher court were to hear an appeal and agree with the ruling, the impact of this decision could spread. It could also encourage other attorneys general who are against the federal gay marriage ban to sue.

Here’s my question to you: Do you agree with the judge who says banning gay marriage is unconstitutional?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Gay Marriage
October 13th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Time for Pres. Obama to wade into the issue of gay rights?


Activists carry a rainbow flag on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building during a protest. The group gathered to push Pres. Obama's administration and Congress to live up to promises to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to advance civil rights. (PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama doesn't have any shortage of critical issues to deal with right now, from health care reform to the economy and job creation to possibly sending more troops into Afghanistan.

But the president is choosing this moment to wade into yet another heated debate - that of gay rights. In a speech to an advocacy group - Mr. Obama promised to end the military's policy of "don't ask-don't tell." But he neglected to say when or how.

Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he expects the ban to be lifted... but that it's critical for military leaders to agree on the policy change.

President Obama is also calling on Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

The 1996 law signed by President Clinton defines marriage as being between a man and a woman... and makes sure that states don't have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

President Obama doesn't support same-sex marriage and has said he thinks marriage is between a man and a woman. But - he backs civil unions that offer similar rights to gay couples; and just this weekend called for a law to extend benefits to domestic partners.

Meanwhile - Some gay rights activists are getting impatient with the president... saying they've heard his promises before and now want a timeline.

Here’s my question to you: Is now the right time for President Obama to wade into the issue of gay rights?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


May 27th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

What will it take for Americans to embrace idea of gay marriage?


Protestors demonstrate for the repeal of proposition eight Tuesday before the California Supreme Court. (PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A majority of Americans continue to oppose gay marriage by a margin of almost 3-to-2.

A new U-S-A Today – Gallup Poll shows 57% of those surveyed are against legalizing same-sex marriages, while 40% are in favor. Although support for gay marriage has increased a lot since the 1990s, it seems to have stalled in the last few years - peaking at 46% in 2007.

Not surprisingly, the poll shows Democrats and younger Americans are more likely to support gay marriage than are Independents, Republicans or those older than 30.

But, what's interesting is that although a majority of Americans are against gay marriage - most people are willing to support gay rights in a lot of other areas. For example, the same poll found: 69% are in favor of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, 67% say gay domestic partners should have access to health insurance and other employee benefits and 73% say they should have inheritance rights. 67% favor expanded hate-crime laws to cover crimes committed against gays.

Meanwhile, California won't be joining the list of states where gay marriage is legal. The state's Supreme Court has upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages.

Gay marriages are now legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and Iowa, and will be legal in Vermont in September. The District of Columbia has voted to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere although it doesn't give marriage licenses to gay couples.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take for Americans to embrace the idea of gay marriage?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Gay Marriage
April 20th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Why are some in GOP calling for support of gay marriage?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As gay marriage legislation continues to pick up steam in several states, some Republicans are now calling on their party to get behind the movement. A top adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign warns that the GOP will keep losing young voters and the Northeast as long as they oppose same-sex marriages.

Meghan McCain (left) and Steve Schmidt (right) agree that it is harmful to the GOP for candidates to be perceived as anti-gay.

Steve Schmidt told a meeting of a gay rights group called the Log Cabin Republicans that it's harmful for GOP candidates to be seen as anti-gay in places like California, Washington and New York. Schmidt - who has a lesbian sister - called heterosexual marriage "a tradition, not a creed," and dismissed arguments from conservatives that allowing gay marriage would weaken the institution or that it could turn the GOP into a "sectarian party." Nonetheless, he acknowledged that he's unlikely to find support from many in his party in the near future.

One Republican who does agree is John McCain's daughter, Meghan. She addressed the same group over the weekend, saying there's "a war brewing in the Republican party" between the past and the future. Meghan McCain says that embracing new technology - like Twitter or Facebook - won't solve the party's problems; instead, the party needs to break free from "obsolete positions." Her dad must be loving this.

Earlier last week, John McCain's daughter had written an opinion piece called 'Memo to the GOP: Go Gay' urging Republicans to "get past our anti-gay rhetoric" if they want to gain significant support from younger voters. At a time when only one in four voters identifies themselves as a Republican, some are suggesting the perceived intolerance of the party on issues like gay marriage is costing them dearly.

Here’s my question to you: Why are some Republicans calling on their party to support same-sex marriage?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Gay Marriage • GOP
April 15th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What if New York becomes 5th state to legalize gay marriage?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

New York could become the fifth state to legalize gay marriage. Governor David Paterson is expected to introduce legislation tomorrow that would make marriage between same-sex couples legal in New York.

Last week, Vermont became the first state to enact a same sex civil marriage law through legislation, and not a court order.

Paterson has previously said he's committed to bringing "full marriage equality in New York state," adding it's a problem that gays and lesbians who live in a civil union aren't entitled to around 1,300 civil protections that are available to married couples.

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer introduced the same bill back in 2007 - it passed the Assembly but died in the state Senate. It's expected the bill would pass the Assembly once again, but would need support from some Republicans in order to pass the Senate.

Supporters are hoping that the momentum is there for the bill to pass this time around. That's because Iowa's Supreme Court recently overturned a ban on same-sex marriage; and Vermont's Legislature also just voted to allow gay couples to marry. Same-sex marriage is also legal in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Although these four states have legalized gay marriage, polls suggest the majority of Americans remain opposed to the idea. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll from December shows 55 percent of those surveyed don't think gay marriages should be recognized by law as valid; 44 percent think same-sex marriages should be recognized.

Here's my question to you: What would it mean if New York becomes the fifth state to legalize gay marriage?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Gay Marriage
November 20th, 2008
04:40 PM ET

Gay Marriage Ban: Should Calif. Courts stay out?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

On Election Day, California voters approved Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that overruled the state Supreme Court's decision this past May to legalize gay marriage.

Protests and petitions by gay rights groups and supporters followed in the days after.

Now the California Supreme Court has agreed to hear three legal challenges to the state's new ban.

All three cases claim Proposition 8 steps on the civil rights of a "vulnerable minority group."

While the court agreed to review the cases, it stopped short of suspending the ban.

An estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages were certified in California between the spring and Election Day and many of these couples have been left in legal limbo.

According to one gay rights group, the California Supreme Court has heard nine cases challenging ballot initiatives or legislative acts in the last century. The court eventually overturned three of the measures.

Here’s my question to you: Should the California Supreme Court stay out of the recently passed ban on gay marriage?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Gay Marriage
May 29th, 2008
05:20 PM ET

Gay marriage in the U.S. inevitable?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

California is set to start marrying gay couples next month – barring an unexpected legal challenge to the state's recent decision to overturn a ban on same-sex marriages.

This is all well and good for gays who get married in California, but what if they move to a state where gay marriage isn't legal? While there's been a slow and steady march in the direction of gay marriage in some states for years, there remains a question about the recognition of these unions in states where gay marriage remains against the law.

In light of this, New York Governor David Patterson has told state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states and countries where they are legal. This could affect as many as 1,300 state laws and regulations governing everything from joint filing of income tax returns to transferring fishing licenses between spouses.

Critics insist Paterson is trying to circumvent the legislature and courts, while experts say this would make New York the only state that doesn't allow gay marriage itself but fully recognizes same-sex unions from other states.

But the whole issue remains murky. Different states have different rules. Some states – like Vermont and New Jersey – allow civil unions but no marriage. With California, there will be only two states where gay marriage is legal. The legal rights accorded gay couples will continue to vary widely from one state to another complicating the decision of a gay couple that wants to move.

Nevertheless, the country seems to be developing an increasing tolerance for something that was once considered unthinkable.

Here’s my question to you: Is gay marriage in the U.S. inevitable?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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