Many people gathered outside of the Supreme Court Justice earlier this week because of the oral arguments about same-sex marriage were being heard. However, with this social issue being covered by most news media outlets, many democratic politicians are announcing a position on the issue.
Senator Kay Hagan became the latest Democratic senator to endorse gay marriage. Hagan was initially against gay marriage until her announcement on March 27th. There are many possible reasons why she changed her position on the social issue. Even though voters in North Carolina voted for a constitutional amendment that declared marriage as between a man and a woman, Hagan could possibly be trying to appeal to the voters who are for gay marriage.
As a result, The Huffington Post reported on Thursday, March 28th that because Hagan changed her position on gay marriage she is now receiving a fundraising boost from the group LGBT Democrats of North Carolina. However, Hagan is not the only senator from a southern red state turning purple who’s up for reelection in 2014 to endorse gay marriage. Virginia’s Mark Warner backed it this week, too.
I believe that Democratic Senator Warner is trying to achieve a political goal by appealing to the masses. The goal Warner might be trying to achieve is to be reelected in 2014 for senator. Furthermore, by Warner stating his position on gay marriage, he’s appealing to voters who are for gay marriage. This is can be another possible political strategy because he is setting up an image of himself; he’s considered to potentially be a democratic presidential contender in 2016. Warner was one of 40 senators to sign on to an amicus brief to the Supreme Court asking it to overturn a federal ban on gay marriage.
Almost all of the top contenders for the Democratic nomination in 2016 now support gay marriage. This includes Vice-President Biden, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who announced her support last week.
However, I interpret all of these politicians taking a stand to support gay marriage as a political strategy. The fact that these politicians are announcing their support on the social issue doesn’t necessarily mean that it is their actual view on it. In Jeffrey C. Alexander’s The Performance of Politics, he discusses that when politicians struggle to achieve a political goal they try to present themselves as appealing as possible to the public. The position that each of these politicians are making on gay marriage is a great example of what Alexander is trying to explain in his book. You should understand that everything that a politician says or does is being watched and judged by the public. Each of these democratic politicians are trying to appeal to potential voters. Specifically, voters who will be voting in the primaries. Which further supports Alexander’s theory that politics is all about the performance of the politician and that this social issue is just another way for the politician to do that.