Before he has even officially declared his intention to run for President, Barack Obama is under attack for his pro-gay views.
The junior Senator from Illinois is expected to announce on Saturday that he intends to run for the highest office in the land.
Obama is the only African-American in the Senate, and his candidacy is already being compared to that of President John F Kennedy.
His popularity has prompted radical pro-life group Christians for Social Justice to launch ObamaNation.Com, a website “exposing” Obama’s positions on abortion and same-sex unions.
In a sign of the moral battles ahead, Pastor Clenard H. Childress, Jr. director of the group, said:
“60 percent of all new AIDS cases in America will be the result of the violation of Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:27 (men having sex with men).
“If he were to become President of the United States Sen. Obama’s support of homosexual unions would pose a real health threat to African Americans.”
Obama has never hidden his pro-choice views, and has directly challenged the literal interpretation of the Bible that fundamentalist Christians use to justify homophobia.
“I am not willing to have the state deny American citizens a civil union that confers equivalent rights on such basic matters as hospital visitation or health insurance coverage simply because the people they love are of the same sex,” Obama wrote.
“Nor am I willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.”
A Democrat, he has only been a Senator for two years, but has already been able to vote against moves to amend the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The favourite to win the Democratic party nomination for President, Hillary Clinton, is already under fire for her hawkish approach to the war on terror and silence on gay rights.
Many LGBT Americans are unhappy that the former First Lady and other Senate Democrats have not responded in a visible and assertive way to attacks against gay marriage and other gay rights efforts by conservative Republicans and religious advocacy groups.
In contrast, Obama has been unafraid to make the case for fair treatment for gay people. He is is pro-choice, favours civil unions for lesbian and gay couples and supports universal health care.
He also never voted for the Iraq war, and has consistently that said the policies of the Bush years have put America in peril.
His unique racial background makes him the most interesting candidate for the Democratic nomination.
Obama was born in Hawaii, to a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas.
He was raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Hawaii. He graduated from Harvard with a law degree in 1991.
In a Presidential race filled with white, 50-something male politicians, Obama stands out.
His soft-spoken manner, easy sense of humour and perfect-looking family are other advantages – as is his lack of Congressional service.
Obama’s distance from the decision to go to war could prove a decisive advantage with an electorate now overwhelmingly of the opinion that the whole war is a disastrous mistake.
Unlike former President Clinton, Obama has spoken candidly about using marijuana and cocaine as a younger man, and about his struggle to come to terms with his mixed-race identity.
He first came to be spoken of as a future President after the Democratic National Convention in 2004.
His keynote speech about national unity moved many to tears, and is regarded as one of the best such addresses to the convention in modern times.
“The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats,” he said.
“But I’ve got news for them too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States.
We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we got some gay friends in the Red States.
“There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported the war in Iraq.
“We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”