From The Washington Post -- May 11, 2012:
Obama gay marriage endorsement mobilizes Christian conservatives
President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage is energizing Christian conservative support for Mitt Romney in a way that the likely GOP nominee has so far not been able to do on his own, according to religious leaders and activists.
Pastors in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and other swing states are readying Sunday sermons inveighing against same-sex unions, while activist groups have begun laying plans for social media campaigns, leaflet drives and other get-out-the-vote efforts centered on the same-sex marriage issue. Romney could benefit from a strong turnout among evangelicals and other social conservatives, many of whom remain skeptical of his commitment to their causes.
“So many people were rather lukewarm toward governor Romney and were really looking for some more tangible reasons to support him,” said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, who led the ballot drive that banned gay marriage in Ohio in 2004. “Then lo and behold, it just fell out of the sky when Obama came out and endorsed same-sex marriage. . . . We are going to make this our key issue: the attack on marriage.”
The National Organization for Marriage, a leading anti-gay-marriage group, lashed out at Obama after his announcement and promised to campaign against him “ceaselessly” in swing states.
Same-sex marriage has long been a galvanizing political force for core constituencies in both parties, particularly conservative Catholics and evangelical Republicans. But the president’s public embrace of the idea alters the landscape in ways that promise to complicate the political calculus for both sides.
While more than 30 states now ban same-sex marriage and voters in North Carolina on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment forbidding it, anti-gay-marriage activists acknowledge that public opinion on the issue has shifted dramatically since 2004, when ballot measures in Ohio and 10 other states helped drive social conservatives to the polls in support of George W. Bush.
Romney and other establishment Republicans have treaded softly on the issue so far, but many evangelicals think that a forceful anti-gay-marriage campaign could pay huge dividends for Republicans in the fall.