Barack Obama is lending his support to three same-sex marriage initiatives, as he tries to bolster his support in the gay and lesbian communities ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
Obama on Thursday endorsed ballot initiatives legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington, Maryland, and Maine, Reuters reported. The president issued statements in those states urging voters to approve the measures on the November 6 ballot.
“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” Paul Bell, press secretary for Obama’s campaign in Washington and Oregon, said in a statement.
Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage initiatives comes five months after he publicly expressed his support for the rights of same-sex couples to marry, the first US president to do so.
His urging voters to support the initiatives is seen as a way to shore up one of his strongest bases, gay and lesbian voters. Polls show that the president is in a tight race with Mitt Romney, who stole momentum in the race after winning the first debate.
Obama’s support for same-sex marriage initiatives is especially important given the enthusiasm gap between his campaign and Mitt Romney’s. CBS News reported that events for the GOP challenger have gotten more people to attend, and overall enthusiasm is higher among Republicans.
Romney made three stops through Ohio on Thursday, promising “big changes” to the many voters who came out to see him.
“The Romney people feel like they are on the march… things are getting better, they’re moving,” CBS News political director John Dickerson said today on CBS This Morning. He added, “If the Romney campaign’s on the march, the Obama forces are at the barricades.”
For Obama and Democrats, support of same-sex marriage initiatives represents a chance to hold off Romney long enough to win re-election.