Why Obama (probably) won’t endorse gay marriage this year

Most Democrats agreed that raising the issue in the context of the election might be counterproductive even for the gay rights movement itself.

“Speaking as a gay person, he should do what he believes is best for the country,” said former Obama adviser Steve Hildebrand. “If endorsing gay marriage is best, then that is what he should do. I would encourage him to do what he believes is best for the country and to not let politics play a part if that is possible.”…

“It would give (Mitt) Romney an issue to try to blunt his serious flip-flopping problem, and the president has already shown his strong commitment to equality for LGBT Americans in ending don’t ask, don’t tell, passing hate crimes bill, speaking out against DOMA and state level anti-gay marriage legislation,” said a Democratic strategist…

But even if you set aside the idea that such a move would look transparently political, backing gay marriage doesn’t gain Obama much. He’s already got many supporters in the gay community thanks to the things he has done, and backing gay marriage really only risks alienating independent voters and firing up a conservative base that isn’t quite raring to go right now.