Fred Karger was in shock when President Obama made a public endorsement of same-sex marriage earlier today. “It was a wonderful surprise,” Karger said. “I welcome him to the fight.”
We just spoke to Karger, the first gay presidential candidate on a major party platform. And he happens to be a Republican. He has worked on nine presidential campaigns, including Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
Karger said he was surprised when the anticipation started to build today that Obama was about to complete the “evolution” of his policy. Why? Because he watched as Amendment 1 in North Carolina passed overwhelmingly last night.
“It takes a tremendous amount of courage to do that following a huge loss in North Carolina,” Karger said. “And I know they’re doing a lot of internal polling looking at Ohio, Florida, New Mexico. This is a still a very controversial issue.
“But that’s what a president does. That’s why we elect a president: for bold leadership.”
Karger criticised Mitt Romney and right-wing evangelical leaders on the Richard Grenell fallout last week. Now, the other presidential candidate is taking a major stand.
“Especially with Gov. Romney, who seems to lack a core, I think President Obama was probably concerned of a similar charge against him on this issue,” Karger said. “So the fact that he now is honest … I think it’s the domino effect. It will encourage many Democrats and even some Republicans to come out and support this.”
The most powerful thing Karger talked about was the effect Obama’s endorsement would have on gay teens throughout the United States that have been afraid to come out.
“I can only imagine what it would be like if I were a teenager now, struggling with my sexuality, not feeling so great about myself, scared to tell friends or family,” Karger said. “The President of the United States — the impact of his voice today — there are going to be millions of people around the world that are going to be impacted for the better.
“There will be lives spared because of this.”
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