Real Leadership Pays Real Dividends

30 May

It has been nearly a month since President Obama announced his support for marriage equality but the ripples are still being felt. Opposition to civil equality for LGBT Americans has hit an all-time low, with 53% supporting marriage and only 39% opposing it. Even with the extraordinary exposure that this supposedly controversial topic has received, people are moving in the direction of fairness.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the African American community, as shown in recent polls. Nationally, their support of equality jumped from 41% to 59%. In Maryland, where voters will be asked to weigh in on a marriage referendum in November, numbers look good. This is largely because of a complete swing in African American support, going from 36% to 55% in the past month. Even in North Carolina, where marriage equality was just defeated, black opposition dropped eleven points since the President’s announcement.

The recent burst of support from African American leaders and celebrities on the heels of the President clearly has had an beneficial impact. The NAACP, Julian Bond, Colin Powell, Jay-Z, and Chris Rock all announced their support. This visible shift in the black community has made it easier for voters to be comfortable with expressing support. Melissa Michelson, a political science professor at Menlo College in California, says blacks are more likely to confront the issue simply because of the esteem they hold for Obama.

It says, “If Obama can be for gay marriage, I can be for it too.” It’s now a safer position to vocalize. We would hypothesize that it would increase support because now the environment has changed.

That’s what leadership can do. As this article points out, Obama has in fact been more supportive of the LGBT community than any prior President. As frustrating as his occasional reticence can be, his actions speak loudly. When his words join those actions, the nation follows.

4 Responses to “Real Leadership Pays Real Dividends”

  1. Will S. May 30, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    One thing I think the president is finally understanding is that progress happens, regardless of whether the established powers want it or not. It’s about damned time he got on the right side of this issue. Should have been from the start, but better late than never I guess.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Will, I’m just glad he is showing some real leadership and standing up for civil rights!

      • Will S. May 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

        Oh I agree and I’m glad too. Just would have liked for him to grow a set maybe before it was politically expedient. But hey, maybe it will force the issue and all these state laws like in N. Carolina can be struck down by the courts like they did with anti-miscegination

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

        Yes, I do wish President Obama had taken a stronger stand on many issues a long time ago. I suspect fighting a bunch of racist fools during a crazy tea party was a bit overwhelming.

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