Policy Issue


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President Barack Obama has stated his position on numerous political matters through his legislative record and public comments. His administration has affirmed that its general plan is to provide affordable and accessible health care to all, revitalize the economy, strengthen social security systems and public education, end the war in Iraq and complete the mission in Afghanistan. Moreover, among the plans are to define an apparent path to energy sovereignty and tackle climate change, and work with allies to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapon. Social policy is also one of the key policies that have been addressed in Obama’s campaign. The main issues addressed by Obama in his social policy are abortion, contraceptive and same sex marriage (Chapin & Chapin, 2010). This write-up focuses on the social policy and illustrates how these two issues have been addressed by President.

Obama’s social policy tackles issues associated with gay marriage. He supported decriminalizing gay marriage when he initially ran for the Illinois Senate in 1996. However, due to political culture, his stand on gay marriage has been changing with time. For instance, his position was not very clear when he first vied for the presidency in 2008. As a matter of fact, he voted against the Federal Marriage adjustment, which would have described marriage as the union of one male and one female (Baim, 2010). In 2008, in a statement in reaction to the decision by the California Supreme Court, he proclaimed his opposition to the 8th proposition, an initiative measure anticipated for the 2008 California General ballot vote that, if passed, would have modified California Constitution to describe marriage as among only male and female. In a correspondence read to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Organization in June the same year, Obama repeated his opposition to the proposed adjustment saying that he was in support of extending benefits and equal rights to gay couples under both federal and state law. He even went ahead and supported various civil right groups that carried the same legal standing to that of matrimony for gay couples. Nonetheless, he asserted that decisions about the designation of marriage should be left to the states.

However, his stand on gay marriage has changed completely in his current campaign for reelection. He has made it public that he supports same-sex marriage. This has made him the first sitting president in the U.S history to support same-sex marriage. On 9th May, 2012, Barrack Obama stated in an interview with ABC that he supports same sex marriage. In the interview, he explained that after talking to family, friends and neighbors over the course of a number of years, and when he thinks about members of his own staff who are incredibly dedicated to monogamous relationships, gay relationships, who are raising kids together, when he thinks of those soldiers, airmen, marines or sailors who are out there fighting on his behalf and yet feel unnatural, at a certain point he just concluded that for him it is important to go ahead and assert that he thinks same sex couples should be capable to get married (Schier, 2011). This clearly shows that he is trying to capitalize on the supporters of such groups. He even went ahead and asked for the cancelation of federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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Although most conservative Christians are against gay marriages, Obama has received huge support from various quarters. For instance, a celebrity like Oprah Winfrey, who has immense fun base throughout the country, has also supported the idea. This has improved Obama’s ratings in the opinion polls. 

Additionally, Obama affirmed his abortion position in compliance with the Democratic policy. He stated that abortions should be lawfully available. His presidential candidature was approved by several factions who advocate for lawful abortion, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. In 2008, in Lake Forest, California, he reacted to the query as to when life begins. He stated that whether you are looking at it from a scientific perspective or a theological perspective, answering that query with specificity was above his pay grade.

In the Illinois state administration, Obama differed with the Induced Infant Liability Actand repetitively voted in opposition to requirements and limitations intended to stop what his opponents labeled born alive abortions. He stated that his antagonism was because of technical language. He felt that the technical language might have hindered woman’s right to decide. He said Illinois law already needed medical care in such occasions.

He also opposed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. In fact, he repeatedly stated that on an issue like partial birth abortion, he strongly believed that the state can appropriately restrict late-term abortions.  He also said that people should have a stipulation to protect the mother’s health, and numerous bills that came before did not have that. Obama opposed a bill that would have made it a crime for anyone other than a parent to escort a minor across state lines to do an abortion. He has, on the other hand, expressed support of prohibits on some late-term abortions as long as they include exceptions for the physical and mental health of the mother. In fact, he approved a $100 million education plan to reduce teenage pregnancy and provide contraceptives to youthful people.

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As it has been demonstrated, Obama’s position on the issues of gay marriages and abortion has been mainly determined by political culture. His social policy is meant to lean towards situations that would bring more votes. For instance, he currently supports gay marriages yet he was against the idea sometimes back. This clearly demonstrates that political culture has greatly influenced his social policy.

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