Republican activists are reportedly planning to use President Barack Obama’s support for gay marriage against him in the race for the White House.
GOP campaigners say they are looking to paint the US President as a ‘flip-flopper’, and say Obama’s likely Republican opponent Mitt Romney is more consistent.
Obama made history by becoming the first sitting president to express support for gay marriage on Wednesday (9 May), following support from Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
‘I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly,’ Obama said in an interview with ABC News. ‘… It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples be able to get married.’
President of the National Organization for Marriage Brian S. Brown said: ‘President Obama has made this an issue in the campaign and we are confident that Mitt Romney will eagerly defend the voters of these states against the president’s attempt to impose same-sex marriage on the nation.’
Romney has been previously criticised for changing his views on abortion. However he has always been consistent by stating his support for anti-marriage equality.
During the 2008 election, Obama stated his support for civil unions between same-sex couples. In late 2010 he said his views were ‘constantly evolving’.
The Washington Post says conservatives will see a geographic benefit since several of the states that will decide who wins the election have banned gay marriage in some form. North Carolina became the 30th state to ban gay marriage on Tuesday (8 May).
They say if campaigners highlight Obama’s support of gay marriage and Romney’s opposition in states such as Ohio, Florida and Virginia, it could help energize right-leaning voters.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner said he wants the political battleground to focus on important issues, like the economy.
He said: ‘I’m going to stay focused on jobs, thanks. The president can talk about it all he wants. I’m going to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on.’