EXPERT CONTACT :
Jonathan Katz, PhD
Department of Visual Studies
University at Buffalo
Consistently, polls have shown an ever increasing percentage of Americans, especially younger Americans, are in favor of marriage equality for gay men and women.
That North Carolina elected to be on the wrong side of history once again is, sadly, a habit it needs to break. North Carolinians opposed civil rights for African Americans; they elected Jess Helms and kept putting him in office despite his hateful rhetoric against blacks and gays.
A governor of North Carolina will, in the not too distant future, have to hold a press conference to apologize for this vote. The habit to disenfranchise others runs deep there and has for centuries, and despite constitutional guarantees of equality, the state's voters continue to pick and choose who will be made "equal."
The President's statement in favor of marriage equality is a game changer. Active support for him among the left was at best lukewarm and this statement will revitalize the progressive movement at large; it's import goes far beyond the queer community, because he's finally shown some of that fighting spirit and principled commitment that made him a favorite during his campaign.
Obama's statement, then, is an olive branch to the left. And he needs us to win again, not just our votes, but our fervor, our door-to-door politicking, our grassroots savvy. We always knew he believed in marriage equality, but we weren't sure on which side his politicalcalculus would come down. It's great to see he's come out in favor of full equality.