Same-Sex Marriage, Religion, & Election 2012: A Collegiette's Guide

Two forms of marriage have been called into question during the 2012 election: 1) same-sex and 2) religion and politics. Over 200 years after the infamous clauses “all men are created equal” and “separation of church and state,” many believe that their equality has been called into question, and that religion and politics are still interlocked. As politicians and political parties point fingers and let loose a confusing myriad of “he saids,” it can be difficult to keep track of what each presidential candidate is all about. Good thing HC is here to help you out by breaking Election 2012 down! Let’s see what each presidential candidate’s stance is on these two controversial issues.

Same-Sex Marriage

The Obama-Biden Platform

The road to equal rights has been a rough one, even for the president, who won America over in 2008 with the platform “change we can believe in.” But change, it seemed, was only applicable to some—when asked about his views on same-sex marriage four years ago, President Obama responded: "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.”

Fast forward to May 2012, to what many are calling Obama’s evolution. After Joe Biden prematurely leaked his same-sex marriage endorsement, the president, who had planned to announce the news at the Democratic Convention, went public with his support as well.

Did we see this coming? In some ways, yes. Though he initially championed the traditional definition of marriage, the president also denounced Proposition 8, a ruling that made same-sex marriage illegal in California until it was declared unconstitutional in 2010, and supported civil unions. Then, in September of 2011, he proudly proclaimed that “patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love” after signing the Repeal Act for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The path towards acceptance has certainly been paved over the last four years, and Obama himself insisted that it has been a process.

But when baby steps suddenly turn into strides relatively close to the election, the concern is that the timing of Obama’s “evolution” is a political maneuver, one Emory ’13 collegiette worries.

“[I] don't believe that Obama truly supports gay marriage — I don't buy that his views on gay marriage took a good four years to evolve, and that he finally gave it half-hearted support conveniently around election season. Really? …[W]e should hold [our leaders] to incredibly high standards, and instead of celebrating Obama's miniscule, baby steps to Romney's backwards ones, we should be looking for ways to make strides — and the people who make them possible.”

Well, support is support, right? Who cares if it’s just in time for the election?

True, but you want a president who is passionate about the issues you care about, and who is going to push your values forward. If you’re a same-sex marriage supporter, Obama’s endorsement is a good step in that direction, but he currently has no intention of implementing gay marriage rights on the federal level, believing that legislation should be passed by the states—even as many states move to ban these rights.

Still, Obama’s endorsement has helped many collegiettes decide in his favor this year.

“Any law that prohibits an individual's pursuit of happiness while not inflicting upon the legal rights of others is unconstitutional by nature,” says RLCG Andy, San Francisco State ’13. “Same sex marriage is no different than segregation issues of the mid 20th century… So yeah, hands down support for Obama. The fact we still have presidential candidates against gay-marriage is embarrassing for the human race.”

The Romney-Ryan Platform

Although Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage under Governor Romney’s leadership, Romney has made his opposition on the issue crystal clear—to him, marriage is between a woman and a man. That statement is not without some flexibility, as Romney acknowledged the loving relationship between same-sex couples, and that under a domestic partnership, he could “see rights, such as hospital visitation rights, and similar types of things, being provided to those individuals.”. But it seems that the use of the word “loving” is about as far as this candidate will go in support of same-sex marriage. Romney, who signed a National Organization for Marriage pledge, which enforced the male-female definition of marriage, is also not in favor of civil unions.

His running mate Ryan, the first Generation X-er to be on a vice presidential political ticket, stands by his views. In his address to the Republican National Convention—which for the most part focused on the economy and skirted gay rights issues—he praised Romney as “[n]ot only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best.”

The controversial statement, of course, brought its own issues—defending marriage against what?—as the party divided straight America and gay America into defense and offense.

“Instead of putting together the largest possible coalition of voters, they're relying largely on one slice of America -- middle-aged white men -- and alienating just about everyone else,” an article in the Huffington Post says.

A vision for America as a whole is one thing, but a vision for one part is another.

Kema Christian-Taylor is a senior at Harvard University concentrating in English with a citation in Spanish.  As an aspiring novelist, she constantly jots down ideas on anything she can get her hands on—including paper napkins.  She has been dancing since age 3 and has choreographed for two shows her freshman and junior years in college.  Even though it means leaving behind her sunny home in Houston, Texas, Kema loves to travel and has been to every continent except Antarctica. Things she cannot live without include the Harry Potter series, Berryline, Pretty Little Liars, the Hunger Games, 90s music, and soy chai lattes.   

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