The 2012 election is approaching and gay rights is the third rail for President Obama and the Democratic Party. Obama needs money from gay donors but can't afford to alienate Democrats opposed to gay marriage. Opinion polls show Americans are becoming more favorable to gay marriage, but less so in the key swings states of Florida, Virginia and Ohio, which have constitutional bans on gay marriage, and North Carolina, which banned gay marriage on Tuesday.
North Carolina became the 30th state to ban gay marriage on Tuesday, when voters approved Amendment One, which prohibits not only gay marriage but also voids all other forms of domestic unions from carrying legal status. Roughly 70 percent of black voters, a key demographic for Obama and the Democrats, supported the amendment.
Meanwhile California is moving in the opposite direction, as a bill makes its way through the state legislature that would ban psychotherapy aimed at making gay people straight. And Obama's vice president, Joe Biden, said over the weekend that he is "absolutely comfortable" with equal rights for same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.