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How Obama’s Support of Gay Marriage Could Lose Him Florida Come November

| May 28, 2012

Protesters in Fort Lauderdale of the gay-marriage amendment Florida voters approved in 2008. (Danny Hammontree)

With debate and votes taking place around the state and polls showing a growing acceptance, the issue of same-sex marriage and domestic partner rights will likely be among a host of second tier issues that could determine which presidential candidate takes Florida.

In a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll released this week, a majority of voters said the candidates’ stance on same-sex marriage would not affect the way they would vote.

But a significant minority say the issue is likely to move them away from President Barack Obama and toward his Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

One in four respondents told pollsters Obama’s support of gay marriage would make it more difficult to support the incumbent president. That’s more than twice the number of voters who say it makes them more likely to support him.

Conversely, Romney’s opposition to the concept makes 23 percent of respondents say they are more likely to cast their ballot for him, while fewer, 19 percent, say his stance will hurt.

Meanwhile this week, votes by the Orange County Commission and public hearings in Jacksonville underscored the growing attention being paid to the issue following the 2008 constitutional amendment defining marriage in Florida as an institution solely reserved for unions between one man and one woman.

Over the past several months, voters in several cities have passed local ordinances or proposed referenda that guarantee domestic partner rights, whether for same-sex or unmarried heterosexual couples.

Backers say the efforts signify the growing acceptance of nontraditional relationships, both straight and gay, by providing protections for committed couples similar to those enjoyed by married pairs.

“In some ways the 2008 ballot measure on marriage really made people stop and think about and have to acknowledge the discrimination that gay couples face,” said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida. “The irony is that in passing the amendment, the folks behind it have accelerated the conversation and the growth of support for domestic partner protections and civil unions.”

Critics, however, say the local votes are incremental attempts to weaken and ultimately overturn the 2008 amendment that was approved by 62 percent of voters and is similar to those in place in 31 other states.

“I think our opponents realize that they can’t win on the gay-marriage issue,” said John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council. “It’s very hard for them to win, so they are trying to advance their cause any way they can. From our standpoint, their real goal is incrementalism and trying to chip away at things.”

Domestic partner initiatives are popping up around the state.

Orange County Commissioners voted 6-1 this past week to follow Orlando city officials’ lead and passed a local ordinance creating a “domestic partner registry” under which residents, straight or gay, can designate a partner who can make hospital visits, health care decisions and burial arrangements among other duties.

Similar initiatives have either taken place or are underway in Volusia County, Gulfport, Tampa, St Petersburg, Pinellas County, Clearwater, Sarasota and elsewhere.

“There is a great deal of interest and support for providing a handful of vital protections for gay couples and unmarried straight partners,” Smith said.

Opponents of domestic partnership arrangements say that by carving out yet another special class, the initiatives weaken the legitimacy of same-sex marriage bans that have proven popular around the country.

“It undermines the basis legally for the marriage amendments, whether that be in law or whether through a state constitutional amendment,” Stemberger said.

It remains unclear whether the domestic partnership issue and Obama’s recent public support for gay marriage will have any impact in November on an electorate expected to be fixated on the economy, health care and other issues more commonly dealt with on a day-to-day basis.

Stemberger said that a candidate’s stance on domestic partnerships may not equate to huge swings in the polls, but Obama’s support for same-sex marriage may elicit a more dramatic response.

A Q-Poll released this week indicated that while two thirds of voters don’t care about the president’s stance, more than twice as many of those who do, say it makes Obama a less attractive candidate.

“The president has taken an enormous risk politically and he is seeing the fallout of that,” Stemberger said.

Smith agreed it is a risk – but said that’s exactly what will push the outcome the other way.

“When we get to November it is going to be a net positive for the president,” Smith said. “I think people respect it when someone takes a principled stand when there are political risks involved.”

Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown says the issue won’t make a huge dent in the president’s re-election chances in the fall, but even a small swing may prove critical in swing states like Florida, which have been hotly contested races in the past.

“The economy is what matters overwhelmingly and it moves both men and women,” Brown said. “..(Gay marriage and domestic partnership) issues rank relatively low on the priority scale, but the numbers are the numbers,”

–Michael Peltier, News Service of Florida

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36 Responses for “How Obama’s Support of Gay Marriage Could Lose Him Florida Come November”

  1. Amy Hamal-Canna says:

    oh please… Like he had florida..This state is so republican it’s not funny.

  2. Fred Peterson says:

    And the state is so anti-gay, Theres something to be proud of, Right?

  3. Kendall Clark-StJacques says:

    Sanctioned discrimination. It’s disgusting.

  4. Josh Roberts says:

    Florida still hasn’t learned what “equal rights” really means!!

  5. Angela Smith says:

    Given the crook we have for a Governor, why the surprise?

  6. Tom Brown says:

    I think it depends on the phrasing of the poll questions. This move by Obama may be his best chance to retain the support of those who took his “Hope and change” slogan seriously. And, folks, it is just rhetoric. He is still not pushing for repeal of DOMA or giving gay couples equal access to Social Security benefits.

  7. Liana G says:

    This may be so but African American support of gay marriage has increased since the President, Colin Powell, Will Smith, Chris Rock, and a number of other prominent African Americans have come out in support of it.

    He is going to lose anyway so the issue of him losing more supporters is moot. On the otherhand, Ron Paul has always been a long standing supporter of civil liberties and personal freedom.

  8. ric says:

    Obama must loose all the states. We cannot afford another four years of this cheat and lying person who has done his best to destroy this country. He’s been riding the backs of the troups in his political ads when it was’nt too long ago he wanted them to purchase their own health care insurance because they volunteered and are like regular employees in the business sector. If you recall at a military get together when the troups were going through the process of folding the flag the (I hate to call her this) first lady whispered in Obamas ear ALL THIS JUST TO FOLD A FLAG.. Real Patriatism from these two.. He has to go..

    • The Truth says:

      Where did you read about this – a chain letter sent by your Republican golf buddies? Try not to believe everything you hear, your Republican friends like to spread false rumors like there is no tomorrow.

  9. Sad times says:

    Gee….. I still do not understand how U. S. citizens keep forgetting about why the United States was initially settled… and I keep forgetting that so many U. S. citizens are still intent on being judgmental about the actions and rights of us all…. Hey…all… our country was based on “freedom”… what so many of our citizens have died for…. and for which we are remembering this Memorial Day weekend.

    So… why do so many still feel that “freedom for all”…. is based on what THEY say is freedom? There should be no caveats….. it should literally be “freedom for all”… we all have the same rights…. and, it is no one else’s business what that means for anyone else EXCEPT oneself!

    At least our president…. and, thankfully, many others… are finally seeing that “freedom” is for us all…not just for the “chosen” who have particular beliefs. What are those opposed to individual freedom that are not the same as theirs… afraid of?

  10. comment says:

    Just because I do not support the President does not mean I am prejudice against blacks. Just because I do not support legalizing same sex marriages does not mean I am a homophobic. Be black, be gay, be happy. But ban same sex marriage and replace the president. If gays want there domestic partners to have, what I would call legal jurisdiction over their affairs, go to a lawyer and have legal documents stating your wishes. I am the legal health care advocate, executor and partial beneficiary for someone I am not related to or having an intimate relationship with. We don’t need to be married to have these rights. Marriage is intended for ONE man and ONE woman. As for the president, he could be purple with pink polka dots, he needs to go. He has put more people in the ghetto then he ever planned on getting out. He is the worst president in history. The best I can say about him is he looks good, loves his family and delivers great speeches. Unfortunately his speeches are just words on paper, no true intention. He needs to go.

    • Nancy N. says:

      “Just because I do not support legalizing same sex marriages does not mean I am a homophobic.”

      If you rephrased that sentence as “Just because I do not support interracial marriage does not mean I am a racist”, how many people would you expect to believe you? So why is it any different if you want to deny gays their civil rights?

      • comment says:

        I absolutely REFUSE to get into a religious argument here, but I will state that IMO marriage is for a man and a woman. As I originally said there are legal ways to cover one’s wishes for darn near any circumstance. Our society keeps making so many exceptions, for so many people at so many levels that we are losing all sense of hope for our futures. Some things just should not be changed, and for me marriage is one of them Now, if you happen to fall in love with someone of the same sex and they bring you great joy, congratulations, it is wonderful to love an be loved!

  11. Outsider says:

    In case noone has noticed, everything this president does is simply a politically calculated move. Surely it’s not a coincidence that he received millions in support from many gay, Hollywood supporters just days after declaring himself “personally” in favor of gay marriage. Further, he understands that by the time election day rolls around it will be a non-issue, since everyone will have forgotten about it as a helpful press will stop talking about it right before we reach the memory limits of the average voter. More talk with no real action, or, simply another “present” vote from the politician-in-chief.

  12. Gia says:

    They are immoral. This is the venereal disease, the disgrace & the garbage of the society.

    • Nancy N. says:

      Moderator, why was this comment allowed to post? It is denigrating and offensive to an entire group based solely on their identity as part of that group. If it was about another social group – women, a racial minority – it never would have been allowed here.

      [The comment can be read as denigrating and offensive to an entire group. It can just as easily and ironically be read as a statement about bigots: the statement defeats itself. Incidentally Nancy, bigotry, or offensive statements, are not in and of themselves automatic reasons to block comments. Bigots vote, too. It’s better to know them than to hide their thoughts.–FL]

    • Sad times says:

      Gia… who made you judge and jury? Who made you God?

    • Liana G says:

      And they pay taxes, volunteer and contribute to society, and do more good that those who hold themselves above society’s disgrace and garbage. Seems to me that the veneral diseases are those truly cursed by God.

      Genesis 3:16 – Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.


    • jespo says:

      Gia….must stand for god is awesome…hence the hateful divisive attitude for those outside your fold…please stay inside the fold where most can’t see you.

  13. another voice says:

    “Homophobia: The fear that gay men are going to treat you like you treat women–and that a lesbian will treat your woman better than you do.”

    Unless you’re hiding behind some out-of-context Scripture where you’ve twisted the Word of Your God into an abomination. I promise you, He does not approve of haters who can’t seem to mind their own damned business.

  14. jespo says:

    Just like the religious right and conservatives to worry so much about where someone puts their penis or toungue rather than the real issues at hand eating this country from the inside out. I’m not a fan of Obama, but he’s better than than the 8 years of Bushmeister we suffered through. Romney would bark his answer if a dog asked it…he’s spineless, without mettle, and a walking mirror for all who wish to look. If he’s the best the GOP could come up with, that’s sad. Get a grip, worry about your own anus, pray inside your own house to your invisible friend for guidance, stop waving your little flag while sending your children to war and start figuring out how to get this country working again.

  15. ric says:

    jespo. You don’t take a stand and you assume things will get better. If this guy gets reelected you better be ready to kiss this country good bye. This guy is a phony..

    • jespo says:

      From what I see things have gotten better…the economy is building albeit slowly, unemployment is down, no new wars and the ones inherited are drawing down. He ended no bid military contracts, closed more off shore tax havens, started the FDA regulating the tobacco industry, limited White House aide salaries, and redecorated the same White House at his own expense, not taxpayers, and this latest stand against bigotry …let alone a whole host more you’d see if only you asked the right questions instead of googling “Hate Obama 2012”. Like I said, I’m not a fan of anyone…the job of a president is not to do stuff for me, I can do that myself. The job is to not hurt Americans and I see him hurting America less. And from what perspective do you see the country AS A WHOLE AS IN ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ going downhill? What so called moralities and values of yours have been attacked as to perceive this man to be a threat to America?

      I assume nothing, ever. I run with facts, probablity, and instinct. The human condition is what it is and rarely, if ever, changes…the other guy, the Romster, is so transparent, a puppet to be wielded and manhandled by the elect that if ‘elected’ he would truly incarnate the Emperor of New Clothing. I see Obama making mistakes but ones I can live with. And unless you’re a naive all politicians are phony to a degree…but it’s only in front of those who can’t handle the truth and need reassuring lies to sleep at night.

      • Liana G says:

        @Anonymous says: May 29, 2012 at 1:04 am

        Permit me to nitpick your comment.

        The housing market is still perilous with more and more homes going into foreclosure (see April 2012 Foreclosure Rate Heat Map,

        The economy is still is doing terrible with the 3 biggest banks Citibank, BOA, and JP Morgan Chase in serious financial trouble and talk of the first two going into bankruptcy. Also, HP is in the process of shedding 27,000 jobs. These are not signs of a recovering economy.

        Unemployment numbers are always fudged and does not account for those who are unemployed and have completely stopped looking for work. Unemployment rate for young people is around 50% with the underemployment rate even higher. (

        New wars and the ones inherited are not drawing down. We’ve increased drone attacks (the most under any president) and hostilities with our actions, and we continue to instigate instability/civil war in other countries so we can disproportionately trade them weapons for their resources. Drone attacks are a cowardly way to fight!

        He may have ended no bid military contracts but our list of defense contractors is mighty long (see Halliburton, Bowing, and GE close connections to the White House make no bid contracts even sweeter for them.

        Closed more off shore tax havens. Only for those not rich enough. Ask Mitt, Clooney, and those with globs of money where theirs are still stashed.

        Started the FDA regulating the tobacco industry. Not much to shout about when the food industry says pink slime is food and pizza is a vegetable. We are the most obese, pill popping drug addicted nation – no improvements being made there except to shut down safe medical marijuana dispensaries that will interfere with drug and tobacco sales. We also have the highest rate of child poverty among the industrialized countries.

        Limited White House aide salaries. That’s good but what about the rest of gov’t employees who are millionaires on the taxpayer dole. He may have redecorated the White House at his expense but was it in NEED of redecorating? That’s wasteful spending in my opinion and not a good example to set even if it is his own money.

        And just for good measure I’ll throw in what he has done that is terribly undemocratic. Increase spying on and censorship of American citizens – SOPA/PIPA, CISPA. He also passed the anti protest bill – H.R. 347.

        • jespo says:

          I posted the anonymous post…forgot to add my info [since corrected]….No President walks on to a clean slate when they take office, and Bush left this country in such a disgusting frigging hole I’m shocked the tide has turned at all in some regards. Some issues such as the economy, housing, unemployment, wars, will take many more years to heal…it’s like jumping on to a runaway train going downhill; you have to travel a few more bad miles to get the train turned around in the right direction. This is what’s happening. Stop fear mongering, finger pointing, and minimizing accomplishments.

          Let’s see….Cheney was CEO of Haliburton and continued his Constitution shredding relationship with them under Bush. Housing prices are at 2002 levels which is the normal fair price for a spec house, unless you of course can’t figure out material, labor and permitting costs and want to waste 400,000 for the same house. All bubbles bust. People were stupid with their money and companies were greedy for profit…what do you think was going to happen? Most banks got into trouble over their lending practices, again, under Bush and without regulation.

          If you agree that unemployment numbers are fudged, then so are yours. Fail.

          I don’t believe in putting boots on the ground in a war; I believe in killing everything from 50,000 feet up then walking away…that’s war, it’s ugly so don’t fight it…and those cowardly drones save American lives which is my overiding thought so screw the enemy, he’s alrerady dead the moment I decide he needs to die and if a drone will protect the troops I’ll build them myself. Just this American’s opinion.

          The rest isn’t worth commenting back on because if you’re willing to deny a positive move because NOT EVERYTHING has been fixed you don’t understand politics…you can’t accomplish everything, everywhere, everytime. I see some good accomplishments by this President. I think the healthcare thing was a waste of time and a mistake without first addressing the insurance companies which are the root problem but the sentiment was a good one.

          What do you think John McCain would have done by now? Remember him, the guy who thought Sarah Palin could be President should he buy the farm? Hhmmnn……I’ll take the devil I know over the one behind the curtain thank you. At least this one tells the truth more than most.

          • Liana G says:

            “If you agree that unemployment numbers are fudged, then so are yours. Fail.” Fail? How so? The numbers are fudged to reflect a lower rate which means the numbers are actually HIGHER.

            No I do not support drones that obliterate entire villages including innocent civilians and children just to save a few of our troops lives especially when the wars are unjustified. That is a grotesque psychopath mindset that this American citizen does not care to embrace or even contemplate embracing. Besides, he did promise to end the wars in his very first year in office.

            The rest isn’t worth commenting on because I honestly don’t know what the rest of your rant implies since they don’t match up with the facts. Anyway, I’d rather peek behind the curtain and find out for myself that there’s a devil behind it rather than be tricked into believing he is there in the first place.

  16. elaygee says:

    I think you should stop runni9ng articles that quote a certified hate group like John Stemberger’s.
    When you ask for a counterpoint on an issue facing African Americans, do you ask the KKK what they think? When its about Jewsih Americans, do you ask the American Nazi Party?
    I think not.
    Stop asking the anti Gay “Family” groups what they think because they don’t think, they hate.

  17. JL says:

    Well, I am a registered Republican vote in the State of Florida and my vote will go to Obama. For the first time. I will NOT vote for Romney. I lived in Idaho for 3 long years. Idaho Falls was mostly a Mormon town. I learned a lot about Mormons. I will never vote for one to become President. People need to realize how prejudiced they are. Against women, against minorities. Why are people so blind? They do NOT read the bible, only the Book of Mormon. I worked for an entire law firm of Mormon’s. The whole school was prejudiced against my sons, they were called “Nons”. Non-Mormon. If you joined the Boy Scouts, the first question to me was ” Are they LDS or Nons”. My sons have never and will never be a NON. They are Baptist. Mormons had separate boy scout groups for Mormons. I could go on. People, you need to study up on LDS (Latter Day Saints) and read about them. I was never prejudiced against anyone no matter what the race, religion, sex, etc. But I will NOT vote for any Mormon as President.

    Now, regarding the gay marriage question. What is the problem with that? So what? This is the biggest problem our country faces? Gay marriage??? People, if you are really going to decide on a president solely based on this one subject, then please do us all a favor, stay home that day. We have much bigger issues than rather 2 gay men or women want to marry each other and make a commitment in front of others. It doesn’t hurt anyone! Let them! Can we worry more about the economy? Jobs? Crime? Whether or not we’re staying in Afghanistan or moving to Iran next?

  18. JL says:

    gia, regarding your post – you are what you type. It is a shame that people like you exist in our society.

    What did someone ever do to you to make you such a hateful person? Why does it bother you so much if 2 women are in love or 2 men. Every day there are women who are battered by their husband. Killed even. Or there are women who are doing the same to their husband. Divorces are a common occurrence. It’s not like a heterosexual partnership is guaranteed to be a good one. If two people are happy, that is all that should matter. And it is NOT our place to judge OR to tell someone WHO we should love.

  19. another voice says:

    Sometimes people just come on an online forum to be a hater–mostly because they don’t have the guts to hate face-to-face to someone in real life. I’d also like to thank the person who noted
    “When you ask for a counterpoint on an issue facing African Americans, do you ask the KKK what they think? When its about Jewsih Americans, do you ask the American Nazi Party?”

    The false equivalences and the “counterpoint” from groups that do not understand what concepts like “logic”, “reality” and “freedom” REALLY MEAN are unacceptable in any forum. It’s why I long ago turned off garbage like CNN and FOX.

    Flaglerlive, if you want to continue to be taken seriously, stop acting just like them.

    [another voice, we’re here to reflect what people think and how that influences policy, however despicably, not judge what’s “acceptable” and “unacceptable.” You’re welcome to turn us off.–FL]

  20. another voice says:

    The point is, “how it influences policy” is, in part, the mere result of appearing in venues like this one.

    No, people will not stop thinking that way if they’re not included in the article. However, being in the article itself lends it credence and importance that it would not otherwise enjoy.

    For the same reason that you wouldn’t let the KKK present counter-point against an issue of grave importance to African-Americans, is the reason that obvious, illogical hatred of GLBT has no place in discussions by, for, or about civilized human beings in this type of forum. You lend them credence that they do not deserve by dint of their uncivilized discourse and hatred of other human beings simply because of their sexuality.

    We do not choose our sexuality, just like we do not choose our skin color.

  21. PC girl says:

    Agree with elaygee. Giving them a platform to boast of their hatred lends legitimacy to them and signals others that (Hey, they’re in the paper, they must be ok!!!!)

  22. Jessie Christ says:

    I agree with JL. I would vote for Rush Limbaugh before I’d ever for Mitt Romney just because of his religious cult affiliation. Trust me, I’ll never vote for Rush.

    If you want to see human rights go backwards, vote for the Mormon! Women are second rate citizens of the planet. Blacks are that color because their skin was burned (marked with blackness) for rebelling against god. They were called the Lamanites. Here’s the kicker, when Lamanites would repent for their sins, the curse of blackness would go away. So basically, the Mormons believe that anyone who is still black hasn’t repented for the sins of their ancestors! WOW!

    I wonder if Mitt will find a new set of sacred Amendments from the Angel Moron-i under a rock and translate them through a top hat. I wonder if he’ll wear his magic underwear at the inauguration. I wonder if Thomas Monson, the current Mormon Prophet, will tell Mitt to nuke Israel or assassinate the Pope, and how long it will take him to follow through. Because after all, the word of the Mormon Prophet is straight from God in the Mormon religion and is indisputable and must be followed.

    Please just do yourselves a favor and study the Mormon church, it’s history, and get your hands around the insane evil empire that it is before you cast your vote for one of its members/puppets. PLEASE!

  23. Sendglow says:

    Nobody is being oppressed. Everybody has the same rights with regards to marriage: everybody has the right to marry a member of the opposite sex.

    What are the candidates’ positions on polygamist marriage? After all, they’re consenting adults…

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