AirTalk for March 8, 2012

Should Democrats take a stand on same-sex marriage?

Rally For Marriage Equality Held At San Francisco City Hall

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A same-sex couple hold hands during a sit-in protest when same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses from the San Francisco county clerk on February 14, 2011 in San Francisco, California.

Gay rights activists want the Democratic Party to include a pro-gay marriage plank in the party’s platform. So does Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who’s chairing the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Villaraigosa publicly announced on Wednesday that he backs the national party taking on gay marriage, an issue he has long supported. Top Dems like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold are on board too. But President Obama doesn’t support legalizing same-sex marriage, even though he has said his position is “evolving.”

It’s a fine line for the President to walk anytime, but especially so during a re-election campaign. Republicans have certainly grabbed headlines by embracing controversial social issues like contraception, immigration and same-sex marriage.

Some say the GOP’s tough rhetoric has helped galvanize their base. But critics argue their policies don’t reflect mainstream American values and could backfire in 2012.

WEIGH IN:

In an election year that’s supposed to be more about the economy than social issues, why are Dems going to that well?

Strategically, would backing same-sex marriage be beneficial or detrimental to the party?

Is gay marriage such an important moral issue for some voters that it’s worth the political risk?

If Dems want to be the party of the future, is gay marriage the litmus test for success?


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