Sunday, 3 June 2012

Pacquiao dissaproves of Obama's support for gay marriage

Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has come out swinging against US President Barack Obama's personal endorsement of same-sex marriage.In an interview with the National Conservative Examiner, the religious Pacquiao said Obama's view was nothing more than a direct attack on the morals of society and the will of God.This what the seven-time boxing legend had to say,
God's words first ... obey God's law first before considering the laws of man. God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other. It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old.
Recently voted Forbes' fourth most influential athlete, the Filipino described same-sex marriage as an "abomination" and went on to say that America should be the model of morality for other countries to emulate. Pacquiao, currently the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion and regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet, already has a burgeoning career out of the ring. He is a member of the Philippines legislature, hosts a weekly TV game show and has his own vegetable business. He is also hoping to become a leading Christian evangelist after having a religious "awakening."

Last month Obama became the first US president to say publicly that he backed gay marriage. Although many politicians, showbiz celebrities and commentators have expressed views on the contentious issue, high-profile members of the sporting community have been largely silent.
In Minnesota, the political impact of President Barack Obama's support for gay marriage will be tested this fall, where opponents of a proposed gay marriage ban are hoping the president's enduring popularity here will help persuade skeptical Democrats to vote it down.

Obama's trip to Minneapolis on Friday comes three weeks after he announced his full support for the right of same-sex couples to wed, and it's his first trip since then to a state that will definitely have a gay marriage ban on the November ballot. Voters in Washington, Maine and Maryland - three other states Obama won in 2008 - are expected to vote on gay marriage.

Minnesota's version, which locals call the "marriage amendment," would toughen current limits on gay rights and etch the ban into the state constitution. Obama won 54 percent of the vote in the state and is expected to win it again this year, so opponents of the ban are hoping enough Minnesotans follow the president's self-described evolution on gay marriage so they can defeat it.

 Republican nominee Mitt Romney has yet to open an office in Minnesota, and it's unclear whether he will devote resources to trying to win the Democratic-leaning state that typically sees a certain degree of presidential campaign action every four years. If it doesn't become a seriously contested presidential battleground, it's likely the amendment would fail if opponents could simply persuade everyone who votes for Obama to vote against the amendment.

John Murphy, an expert on presidential rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said it's not a stretch to think some Democrats previously unlikely to vote in favor of gay rights would be won over by Obama. When presidents take a new stand on a hot-button social issue, Murphy said, it can motivate dedicated party followers to change their own views and stay on the same page as their party's leader.

Still, supporters of gay marriage - even in traditionally Democratic states - have had little success convincing voters, losing all 32 recent statewide votes on the issue. Any gains for gay marriage supporters nationally have come through court decisions or legislative action.The electoral losing streak is one that gay-rights activists in Minnesota and nationally desperately hope to halt this fall. The last year has shown a succession of national polls with support for gay marriage exceeding 50 percent, most recently a Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week finding 53 percent of respondents in favor.

In 2008, Californians gave Obama 61 percent of the vote over John McCain while simultaneously overturning a state Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage. The chief strategist in the California push against gay marriage, Frank Schubert, was recently announced as the campaign manager for Minnesota for Marriage, a coalition of evangelical and Catholic groups working to pass Minnesota's amendment. Chuck Darrell, spokesman for Minnesota for Marriage, said Obama's recent shift for gay marriage generated interest and enthusiasm for his group.

Minnesota's gay-marriage supporters aren't pinning all their hopes on Obama. Minnesotans United is reaching out to Republicans, citing evidence that the split over gay marriage is more generational than partisan. Scott Cottington, a Minnesota-based national GOP strategist said his kids, both in their early 20s, "think gay marriage is a basic civil right."

Romney opposes gay marriage and would limit recognition of gay relationships to letting states offer some rights to same-sex couples. He opposes civil unions if they extend benefits identical to marriage.
Representatives for Minnesotans United and the Obama campaign said there are no plans to coordinate campaigns, but the two groups could find mutual benefit in getting out the youth vote.
The president is scheduled to talk about jobs and attend a political fundraiser in Minneapolis, but Carlbom, of Minnesotans United, said he hoped Obama would continue to talk about his support for gay marriage.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Obama Pride launch targets LGBT community

As I mentioned before, it is still uncertain how US President Barrack Obama's support of gay marriage will affect him at the November polls but one thing is for sure. They are not going to sit around and wait to see what's going to happen. On Wednesday, the Obama campaign launched Obama Pride: LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders) Americans for Obama which is an outreach targetted at the LGBT community. This proposal coincides with Pride Month in June and will focus on efforts to take on the community and rally voters. LGBT-targeted registration efforts were held Tuesday in honor of Harvey Milk Day. On the to-do list for Obama Pride are workshops, planning sessions, phone banks and house parties, particularly in key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada and Florida.

Jamie Citron, the campaign’s LGBT vote director, adrressed reporters on Wednesday saying that organizers will be working “neighborhood by neighborhood and block by block,” and reaching out to “friends, families and coworkers.” Plans to aggressively court the gay community represents a shift for the Obama campaign, which has been more soft-spoken about LGBT recruiting efforts in the past. Some critics charge that Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage was a ploy to rake in cash from the gay community. For a president who was for years reluctant to weigh in on the marriage equality issue at all, Obama Pride shows the campaign has pivoted to a new aggressive approach to make sure they reap the benefits of the president’s support of same-sex marriage.

The campaign’s outreach effort includes pushing a list of achievements for LGBT Americans under Obama, including the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act and ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. On the conference call, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign and a national co-chair of Obama for America, ran through a version of the list, saying that Obama was not paying them lip service and that "he really and truly cares.” Given that same-sex marriage remains a divisive issue, the new campaign initiative is trying to harness any and all support for Obama’s position.

Even music industry mogul, Hip Hop producer/artist Jay Z has jumped on to the Obama bandwagon revealing his support for the Presidents stance on same sex marriage saying,

“I’ve always thought of it as something that was still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. It’s no different than discriminating against Blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple. It’s about people.”

In the end, the question will be whether the trade-off is worth it — there’s only a small percentage of voters in the middle who say Obama’s position will make a difference in how they are going to vote. The launch of Obama Pride indicates that the Obama camp has decided that the boost they get in enthusiasm, organization and fundraising could outweigh any crucial wavering voters who will decide their vote on gay marriage. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Voters split on Obama's gay marriage announcement

Voters divide straight down the middle on President Obama’s recent statement that he supports allowing gays and lesbians to get married, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
As with the issue itself, views of the president’s major announcement last week are closely related to one-sidedness, education and age, with Democrats, more highly educated and younger adults generally supportive of Obama’s move. But there's also a twist to the latest results: although African Americans typically oppose gay marriage, most in the new poll are in favor of Obama’s support of it.

Overall, voters split 46 percent in favor of the move, and 46 percent opposed to it. Intensity runs marginally against the president’s statement supporting legal gay marriage. White Protestants are the most stridently opposed. Fully 70 percent of Democrats express favorable opinions of the Democratic president’s move, as do 49 percent of independents (43 percent hold unfavorable ones). Republicans are lined up on the other side, with 76 percent holding unfavorable views, including 65 percent “strongly unfavorable” impressions.

Age is a similarly big divider, with more than six in 10 adults under 30 years old supportive of the president’s announcement, and a similar proportion of seniors opposed to it.
More than half of all African Americans in the poll back the president’s statement: 54 percent have favorable impressions; 37 percent unfavorable ones. The sample size of black respondents is relatively small in this poll (results have a more than 10-point error margin), but the results are an intriguing contrast to where African-American opinion has been on the subject of gay marriage.
In a large-scale Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll in November, 58 percent of African Americans called same-sex marriage “unacceptable;” far fewer, 35 percent said it was “acceptable” in terms of their own values and morals.

Nearly two-thirds of those who live in states that have legalized gay marriage have positive views of Obama’s statement; in the 31 states where the practice is banned by voter preference, it’s a more even 41 percent in favor, 51 percent opposed.

In the past few days, the topic of same-sex marriage has been driving the conversation: Vice President Joe Biden saying Sunday that he’s “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s endorsement of same-sex nuptials on Monday; a new Gallup poll Tuesday showing a majority of Americans support it but 48 percent don’t; and Tuesday’s landslide passage of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in North Carolina.

However, the law speaks for itself showing that most states in America have already banned same sex nuptials:

Same-sex marriage is now legal in six states and the District of Columbia. Thirty-one states have passed amendments aimed at banning it. The issue is expected to come up in at least four ballot measures this fall: Maine's ballot question asks whether gay marriage should be legalized. Minnesota is asking whether a ban on gay marriage should be part of the state constitution. Maryland and Washington are expected to have ballot measures seeking to overturn same-sex marriage laws that were recently passed by the legislatures.

Therefore, despite all the statistics and predictions about Obama's stance on this issue, it is still unclear as to how this is going to affect him during elections.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Obama's changed views on same sex marriages stirs doubt

By now, most Americans would have suspected that President Barrack Obama was driven by politics, and not policy, when declaring support for gay marriage. A poll released on Monday showed that the untimely announcement shaped public attitudes. A survey conducted by the New York Times and CBS News revealed that 67 percent said that Obama had made it “mostly for political reasons.” On the other hand, 24 percent said that it was “mostly because he thinks it is right.” The survey also highlighted the fact that Independents were more likely to attribute it to politics, with nearly half of Democrats agreeing.

The results reinforce the concerns of White House aides and Democratic strategists who worried that the sequence of events leading up to the announcement last week made it look calculated rather than principled. Mr. Obama, who had said since late 2010 that his position on the issue was “evolving,” finally proclaimed his support for same-sex marriage only after Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did so first in a television interview.

So if Biden hadn't said anything relating to that, I don't think Obama would have said anything either. Since more Americans had approved of same sex marriage, he believes that it could help him win the election. Another survey indicated that about 38 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, while 24 percent favor civil unions short of formal marriage. Thirty-three percent oppose any form of legal recognition. When civil unions are eliminated as an option, opposition to same-sex marriage rises to 51 percent, compared with 42 percent support. Polls showed that few voters considered gay marriage as their top issue amongst economic uncertainty while a little over 50 percent said that it would not make a difference in their choice for president. Among those who said Obama’s position would influence their vote, more said they would be less likely to vote for him as a result; in a close race, even a small shift in swing states could be costly.

Now, with less than six months until the election, Obama remains in a tight race with Mitt Romney. A month ago, polls showed the two tied at 46 percent each; the latest survey had the Republican challenger (Romney) at 46 percent to the president’s 43 percent. Obama’s vulnerable standing in the poll came despite rising optimism about the economy. About a third of voters said it was very or fairly good, the most since January 2008. More than a third said it was getting better, compared with a quarter who said it was getting worse. Jobs and the economy remain by far the most dominant issue, with 62 percent naming it their top priority and 19 percent their second highest. By contrast, just 7 percent chose same-sex marriage as the most important issue and 4 percent as the second-most important.

While most respondents said the candidates’ position on the issue would not affect their vote, about 4 in 10 said it would, which does not go in Obama's favor. Twenty-six percent of respondents said they were less likely to support him as a result, while 16 percent said they were more likely to. Many of those who described themselves as less likely to vote for Obama were Republicans, but in the current situation, even small numbers can matter. 

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Obama supports gay marriage

Last week, the most powerful man in the world announced that he supported same sex marriage. As expected, this sent ripples throughout the American political landscape.

Religious groups condemned the president's decision but gay and lesbian movements were overjoyed at the move. Political analysts say that Obama's support of gay marriage has put him on thin ice in some circles and a pedestal in others. The somewhat brave decision is a huge political gamble, especially nearing elections so it could either prove to be a clever move or political suicide.

Online reaction to Obama's decision beats the odds in his favor, but critics are unsure as to whether this will help him or hurt him come the November elections.

While Obama won widespread praise online, a significant proportion of it were still disjointed.
Many supporters of gay marriage criticized the president for not having announced his position until now, three and a half years into his leadership.  A third of those agreeing with the decision did so while asking, in essence, "What took you so long?"

Well, it is election year and Obama seems to think that his decision will help him get extra points at the polls. At this point in time, the president's 'publicity stunt' has commenters unsure of the outcome.

When asked as to why decided to support gay marriage, this is what he had to say:

"But I have to tell you that over the course of several years, as I talked to friends, family and neighbors. To my own staff who are committed in monogamous relationships, who are raising kids together. I think about those soldiers or marines, airmen, sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet, feel constrained, even now that don't ask don't tell is gone. Because now they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage. 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".

However, amidst all the hype that's been going on in the media and on the internet, these are just words. Obama's personal opinions. Nothing has been set in stone yet such as proposing legislation or issuing an executive order to have federal agencies recognize same-sex marriages.

Just because the president says that he supports gay unions, it does not give couples the right of matrimony. At least not in thirty states across the US! In the half a dozen states where marriage equality is legal it has been achieved via state legislatures or judicial decision. In other words, gay marriage might be morally right, but it is a proven loser at the ballot box.

In conclusion, we cannot say with certainty how this is going to affect the US presidents re-election campaign since support for Obama's comments remain evenly placed on both the positive and the negative aspects. I can only say for sure that November is still a long way off to decide any outcomes just yet. We will just have to sit it out and see.