General Colin Powell has come out in support of same sex marriage. Simply put, Powell said, “I have no problem with it.”
The four–star general and former secretary of state said that marriage, understood as a legal contract that protects the rights of two people, should not be restricted from any Americans.
Powell said he understood that some religious sects are against same sex marriage. He said if those denominations choose to not accept or recognize such marriages, then that’s okay. However, under the law, Powell sees nothing that should stand in the way of extending marriage to same sex couples.
Why does this matter?
Powell is known as a decorated four-star general, the former Secretary of State, (the first African American to take that seat) the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a National Security Advisor. He is one of the most respected men in the political world in recent history.
But Powell is also a Republican. As a Republican, it is important to members of the party that such a respected man side with them on vital issues. Same sex marriage is becoming an important issue going into this upcoming Presidential election.
Powell siding with President Obama is a huge hit against Romney’s hopes of getting elected. In 2008, many were shocked when Powell endorsed Obama over McCain.
It does not help that Powell has also supported the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and has already taken a stance against Romney in terms of foreign policy.
What does this mean?
Powell is known as a moderate Republican. With his stance, he could be signaling to Republicans towards the middle that siding with Obama on this issue is okay.
On the issue of same sex marriage, there is no middle ground. It’s either yes or no. Civil unions are no longer enough as they withhold many important benefits that married couples receive.
While the economy tends to be the most important factor in a Presidential election, the matter of same sex marriage is sure to be of great importance for many voters. Those who value civil rights and equality are likely to be more inclined to support Obama. Those who are more traditional and religious are expected to favor Romney.
The right choice.
As Powell said, there is nothing wrong with individuals holding their own personal religious views. Regardless of what is written in the Bible and what is not, people hold their beliefs and little can be done to change them.
However, another point must be made. In the United States of America, there is no official state religion. In fact, in the United States, there is a separation of church and state, meaning religion does not affect the law and the law does not affect religion.
After all, Jesus Christ was not a politician and George Washington was not a God.
It is becoming clearer as time goes that Republicans are on the losing side of this debate. The matter of same sex marriage is one of progress in the United States and restricting a right from a group of people is not exactly a popular thing to do. Many public figures, including rapper Jay-Z, deem it a matter of discrimination.
Powell’s stance will not change the election completely. It will sway a few voters and hurt the Republicans a bit. The lack of support from one of the few respected Republicans still standing from the Bush years is a huge blow, but it is not a death sentence for Romney’s campaign.