While President Obama's support of same sex marriage has proved divisive, some believe it could be used to unite voters around a single cause.
15 May 2012
Obama’s same sex marriage support unites voters
President Obama last week announced his support for same sex marriage in what has proved a controversial statement. While many speculate over the damage his announcement will cause to his appeal to conservative voters, the US immigration reform supporting Tequila Party claims his stance will unite two vital demographics.
President Obama last week he felt it was 'important' for him to 'affirm that same sex couples should be able to get married' in an unexpected announcement. While such an announcement has predictably divided voters over their views on the issue, some feel it could be this, rather than repeated promises over US immigration reform which could secure votes.
The president promised to overhaul the US immigration system in his first term and has reiterated that pledge in recent weeks. However, his failure to do so has led many to believe his appeal to Hispanic voters could be waning.
Yet Tequila Party leader Dee Dee Garcia Blase says the president's announcement on same sex marriage could convince Hispanic voters that the president keeps his promises.
"My members are telling me that we need to learn from the gay community," said Ms Blase. "We need to take a lesson from the [LGBT] community with regard to being that loud, squeaky wheel that gets fixed.
"We need to be more aggressive, and we realise it."
The Tequila Party, a similar movement to the popular Tea Party, is pursuing the immigration reform President Obama promised and Ms Blase says illegal immigrants are comparable to same sex couples in that many live in fear of being found out and will face harsh consequences through no fault of their own.
As presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney announced just two days after the president that he would amend the constitution to allow same sex marriage forever, Republicans had hoped that the president's dichotomous announcement could be used to draw votes from the crucial Hispanic demographic, who many believe will hold the deciding vote in November's election, due to their presumed conservative views over same sex marriage.
However, a recent poll by the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil rights advocacy organisation in the US, showed that 49% favoured same sex marriage, 59% supported allowing same sex couples to have the same rights as heterosexual couples and almost 70% supported allowing same sex marriages in churches or other religious institutions.
A member of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Juan Rodriguez, who is an immigrant himself, said there were clear and definable ties between gay rights and immigrants rights movements.
"The immigrant rights movement is grounded on advocating with the most oppressed out of our community, and in many cases, that has been [homosexual] undocumented youth," said Mr Rodriguez.
"We are figuring out more and more ways of supporting each other because we all grew up being told we needed to live in fear because of the communities we love."
The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.