There are three important updates on Maryland's Question 6, the referendum on the state's marriage equality law.
"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," said Obama for America spokesman Frank Benenati. "Maryland’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Maryland couples equally, and that is why the president supports Question 6."
Second: The President's statement was released several hours after marriage equality supporters released a new radio advert featuring the President's voice. Listen to that spot AFTER THE JUMP ...
Third: The Obama pro-marriage equality spot comes as both sides released competing radio commercials targeting Black voters in the final stretch of their campaigns, reports the Baltimore Sun. Political strategists believe that as many as one in four Maryland voters this year will be African-American and "each of the three ballot questions with organized campaigns are wooing Black votes."
With same-sex marriage, the state's black voters are shaping up to be swing voters that could turn the outcome one way or another. Polls show that black voters are warming to the idea of same-sex marriage -- and opponents believe African-Americans will ultimately say "no" to question 6 in the voting booth.
WIn the opponents' radio commercial, [Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King], says that an "unholy alliance" has been formed between gay advocates and the NAACP leadership, which supports same-sex marriage. "I understand the civil rights movement," Kings says. "Marriage should not be redefined."
On the other, the commercial features two African-American woman discuss how they will vote in the upcoming election. Both say they will support Obama, but one is unsure on Question 6. Her friend has a clip of Obama's May announcement that he will support same-sex marriage saved on her phone, and plays it.
"I had hesitated on gay marriage because I thought civil unions would be sufficient," Obama said. "You know, Malia and Sasha, they’ve got friends whose parents are same-sex couples, it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents would be treated differently. That’s the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective."
National and regional polling has suggested that Black support for equal marriage has dramatically increased after President Obama and the NAACP's historic announcements supporting the position. See our analysis at EBONY: "Obama’s 'Halo Effect'"
Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia have mandated equal marriage. Maine, Marryland and Washington will vote on referendums in November to approve marriage bills passed by their legislatures. Minnesotans will vote to opn a proposed constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality.
Here's the transcript of the radio spot "Listen Up":
WOMAN 1: So who are you voting for President?
WOMAN 2: (laughing) ...Who do you think
WOMAN 1: I know...but what about Question Six? My Pastor says he's ok with it, but I just don't know...
WOMAN 2: I didn't know either, but then I heard President Obama supported marriage for gay couples.
WOMAN 1: Really?
WOMAN 2: You haven't heard him? I've got the clip here on my phone...
WOMAN 1: You have that on your phone?!!? (teasing)
WOMAN 2: Yes! It's THAT important...listen up:
OBAMA CLIP: "Same-sex couples should be able to get married. I had hesitated on gay marriage because I thought civil unions would be sufficient ... You know, Malia and Sasha, they've got friends whose parents are same-sex couples, it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents would be treated differently. That's the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective. When we think about our faith, it's also the golden rule..."
WOMAN 1: That is SO true...
WOMAN 2: Isn't it though? I'd always kinda been on the fence, but Obama makes it so simple: it's about fairness -- treating everyone equal under the law.
WOMAN 1: Well, if that's what a vote for Question Six means, I'm fired up and ready to go!