Democrats across the country are aggressively pushing to legalize gay marriage, even as President Obama has remained largely on the sidelines on the issue.
The New Jersey legislature on Thursday approved bill that would make the state the eighth in the country to allow gay marriage. N.J. Gov Chris Christie, a Republican, has said he will veto the provision, but the legislature could have enough votes to override that veto.
Earlier this week, Washington state also legalized gay marriage. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff at the White House, announced this week he will urge Illinois to adopt similar legislation.
And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said she will support a plank in the official Democratic platform calling for gay marriage, as first reported by Metro Weekly.
“I’ll push for it because it is consistent with the values base, and the practical values base, that I think is right as a city, as a state and as a country,” Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune this week.
The movement on the issue suggest that Obama’s general approach may be working. Last year, the president suggested that liberals should push gay marriage at the state level, a remark that was criticized by some liberals, who likened it to urging states to expand rights for blacks during the 1950s and 60s. He has declined to play a leadership role on gay marriage or even publicly say he is for it.
His silence could be an acknowledgment of the complicated politics of the issue, which does not divide voters simply along party lines, but also among generations (younger Americans are more likely to favor gay marriage) and even race (some African-Americans who are liberal on most issues are opposed to gay marriage).
Follow Perry Bacon Jr. on Twitter at @perrybaconjr