Last Updated:October 19 @ 10:11 pm

Update: Obama 'mans up' and admits he supports gay marriage

By Julie Pace

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he now supports same-sex marriage, ending months of equivocation on a subject with powerful election-year consequences.

Obama says he has concluded that it is important for him to affirm that he thinks same-sex couples should be able to get married. He says he came to the conclusion over the course of several years of talking to family and friends.

Obama has previously said his personal views of gay marriage were evolving, a stance that frustrated gay rights supporters.

Obama revealed his support for gay marriage in an interview with ABC News.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP's earlier story is below.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama faced mounting pressure Wednesday to express support for same-sex marriage after a setback for gay-rights advocates in North Carolina.

Republicans there turned out in force Tuesday night to vote to strengthen the state's gay marriage ban. The passage of the state constitutional amendment, by a whopping 61 percent of the vote, proves that the topic remains a powerful election-year wedge issue despite tough economic times. It also illustrates the risks for the president as Democrats press him to do what no other has before: back gay marriage.

The vote - in a state that Obama won in 2008 and that will host his nominating convention in September - came just days after Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan voiced their support for gay marriage in back-to-back television interviews, comments the White House insisted were not intended to pave the way for Obama to embrace gay marriage.

Yet, Obama appeared ready to add his voice to this week's debate in a Wednesday afternoon interview with ABC News that the White House hastily arranged. He was expected to be pressed in the interview on his views on gay marriage.

White House officials would not say whether the president planned to announce a shift in his position.

Obama backs many gay rights; he does not support gay marriage but says his personal views are evolving.

In recent days, the issue has started to roil the presidential race. The White House has been inundated with questions about the president's position. And GOP rival Mitt Romney - who has an inconsistent record on gay rights but long has been opposed to same-sex marriage - trying to sidestep the matter at a time when most Americans say they support gay unions.

By Wednesday, the president found himself caught between two schools of thought among his backers.

Some top aides argued that gay marriage is toxic at the ballot box in battleground states like North Carolina and Virginia because, as Tuesday's vote proved, the issue remains a reliable way to fire up rank-and-file Republicans. It also could open Obama up to Republican criticism that he was taking his eye off the economy, voters' No. 1 issue.

Other Democratic supporters claim Obama could energize huge swaths of the party, including young people, by voicing his support for gay marriage before November. He also could appeal to independent voters, many of whom back gay marriage, and he could create an area of clear contrast between himself and his Republican rival as he argues that he's delivered on the change he promised four years ago.

On Tuesday, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, told Obama to "man up" and take a position on gay marriage.

If Obama doesn't do so soon, the calls for him to do so likely will only grow. Obama is scheduled to headline two high-dollar fundraisers for gay and lesbian supporters, including one in New York on Monday. And several prominent Democrats, including his campaign co-chair Caroline Kennedy, are pushing for support for gay marriage to be included in the party platform that will be ratified when Obama accepts the Democratic nomination.

For Romney and the Republicans, the topic comes with both benefits and drawbacks given that polls show that a slim majority of the country - and an increasing number of independent voters - now support same-sex unions.

Romney was treading carefully as the hot-button issue re-emerged in the campaign. He favors a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, saying the policy should be set federally, not by states. But some conservatives question Romney's record on gay rights issues and point to his assertion in a 1994 Senate campaign that he supports "full equality" for gays and lesbians.

On Wednesday, he told KDVR-TV in Denver that "I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name. My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not."

The Romney campaign did not respond to questions about which benefits the Republican candidate would oppose.

The former Massachusetts governor told an Ohio television station Monday that he believes "marriage is between a man and a woman, and that's a position I've had for some time and I don't intend to make any adjustments at this point - or ever, by the way."

Public opinion on gay marriage has shifted in recent years, with most polls now finding the public tilting in favor of legal same-sex marriages.

A Gallup poll released this week found 50 percent of all adults in favor of legal recognition of same-sex marriages, marking the second time that poll has found support for legal gay marriage at 50 percent or higher. Majorities of Democrats (65 percent) and independents (57 percent) supported such recognition, while most Republicans (74 percent) said same sex marriages should not be legal.

Six states - all in the Northeast except Iowa - and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages. In addition, two other states have laws that are not yet in effect and may be subject to referendums.

Yet, illustrating how politically tricky the issue is, North Carolina on Tuesday became the 30th state to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Both the Obama and Romney campaigns were watching the North Carolina vote closely. North Carolina is considered the most politically moderate and progressive state in the South, and voters there narrowly sided with Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

Yet the state is still deeply conservative on social issues. Church leaders rallied their congregations to vote for the amendment and the Rev. Billy Graham, who at age 93 remains influential even though his last crusade was in 2005, was featured in full-page newspaper ads supporting the measure.

North Carolina law already bans gay marriage, but an amendment effectively seals the door on same-sex marriages. The amendment also goes beyond state law by voiding other types of domestic unions from carrying legal status, which opponents warn could disrupt protection orders for unmarried couples.

Obama weighed in early with his opposition to the North Carolina amendment. Aides insisted there was no conflict between the president opposing a measure that banned gay marriage and not publically supporting gay marriage itself. A spokesman said Tuesday night that the campaign was "disappointed" in the outcome.

North Carolina is an important piece of the electoral puzzle for the Obama campaign in November election, but the president could still win the White House again without it.

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AP Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and Philip Elliott in Colorado contributed to this report.

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18 Comments

  1. cxComment by genesal
    May 9, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

    If Conservatives are against it then he’s for it. You won’t get a straight answer from him till after the election probably.

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    Rating: 4.5/5 (10 votes cast)
  2. CarmineComment by Carmine
    May 9, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    I’ve been mixed up with electronics for a long time, so let’s look at it electrically. Two plugs or two sockets can’t get a current flowing. You need one of each.

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  3. lwessonComment by lwesson
    May 9, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    Finally, his Lord, his Royal Majesty, is going to set forth, and speakist to us, his lowly, uncouth Subjects, in his tellithprompter way, in sanctimonious pontifications, what he thinkith on, per something broken, something wrong, of the ages.

    His Royal Jesters, his Town Criers shall, Associate us, Press us, with their Lord’s Imperial, musings all for our wonderment, all for our lifting of mental condition. What a glorious time we humble, so unworthy, Subjects live in!

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  4. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    May 9, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    The thing about gay marriage is, the gays don’t really care.
    They get the same advantages from civil unions that marriage offers, so there is no real advantage in having the ‘right word’ describing the cohabitation.

    But, having the ‘right word’ applied makes your cohabitation seem more ‘normal’

    Wanting society to accept the lifestyle as ‘normal’ is the entire goal.

    It wasn’t enough to ‘be brave’ and come out of the closet.
    Now they actually want us to approve of them.

    Back in the closet forever, I say.

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (15 votes cast)
    • teapartyproudComment by teapartyproud
      May 10, 2012 @ 6:50 am

      You’re close vietnamvet, we are now instructed to “celebrate” them.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (6 votes cast)
  5. backgammon48Comment by backgammon48
    May 9, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    Obama is sadly a very confused man. He is between black & white, he was raised by a mother who ideas are not entirely grounded in the American Dream. Obama didn’t know his father so makes one up. After 3 years they finally find 2 old girlfriends who are also confused. I found this link last week which explains his possible confusion about sexuality.

    ….http://fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/mom-of-murdered-obama-gay-lover-speaks-up/

    No matter what Obama says now, you can bet if he is given another term, DOMA will be gone, and that will be the least of our problems.
    This election is not about gays, healthcare, Julia, religion or foreign affairs. It is going to be about the economy, jobs, the price of groceries, reducing the size of Government, the price of gas. Obama has failed us miserably on all accounts. ABO 2012

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  6. fallschComment by fallsch
    May 9, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    I can see it now. Laws get passed allowing gay marriage. Gay couples demand church weddings and are denied. Gay couples sue for discrimination and churches are given the choice of allowing gay marriages or losing their charitable status.

    Is this just a conspiracy theory? I hope it’s never anything more than that.

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (9 votes cast)
  7. JDZComment by JDZ
    May 9, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

    So far, with Obama support, gays can be married (if states allow), the crucifix and the nativity scene cannot be displayed in a public place, the words “under God” is being left out during the pledge of allegiance and being considered to be removed from money and left out of the swearing in for court, and photo IDs are discriminatory for minorities to vote but not for getting food stamps, bake sales are not allowed in school but showing sexually explicit pictures for health education is OK, the Catholic church has to provide condoms to whomever in their hospitals and educational facilities, illegal immigrants can receive government subsidies but our war veterans cannot, etc. and the ten commandments and other references to God or Christian religions are being removed from schools,

    Our country is being transformed right before our eyes.

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    Rating: 4.0/5 (8 votes cast)
  8. Patrick BowmanComment by Patrick Bowman
    May 9, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

    Update: Obama ‘mans up’ and admits he supports gay marriage
    That’s what the headline said, what a cartoon omamba never MANED up in his life he’s run and hid and had others do his bidding all his stinking life!

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    • LenaComment by Mona
      May 9, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

      It’s a quote. The article points out that a fellow Democrat told Obama to ‘man up.’

      But that’s not why I came in here.

      Is anyone hearing anything about this issue from their pastors anymore? Ours hasn’t mentioned a current issue that affects the church in years.

      Also, will this affect the Black vote?

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      May 11, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

      You might need to pray about changing churches, Mona. Some of the mainstream denominations have either become silent on the issue or openly accept homosexuality as acceptable. Either trend spells disaster for the church. It really isn’t a surprise since many of the seminaries have been teaching that the Bible is wrong on homosexuality and should not be taken literally. Some seminaries even question the divinity of Christ and the virgin birth. Why bother to even call yourself a Christian if you don’t accept the basic tenets? They are attempting to destroy the church from within.

      My church still teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin. There are still churches out there that do.

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  9. Patrick BowmanComment by Patrick Bowman
    May 9, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

    Nothing will affect the black vote, they will justify anything he does!
    The only thing he could to affect the black vote would be to turn white.

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  10. RME KRNLComment by RME KRNL
    May 10, 2012 @ 2:22 am

    With NC, now a majority of states, 30, have not only voted against gay marriage but also voted, usually by large majorities, to amend their state constitutions against it so liberal judges can’t overturn it, as has been done in some past referendum votes.

    Most conservatives I know do not object to gay civil unions, recognizing the need for protection of certain legal rights, but object to the gay minority in our country dictating something other than what the majority of Americans think of as marriage. Letting a relatively small special interest group, which is what gays in America are, dictate a change to the social definition of one of the major institutions of our country by insisting that they must get “married,” is, first, legally unnecessary to protect the rights of gays and, second, is just democracy of the squeakiest wheel.

    And, since Team Obama never misses a chance to point out how, if at all, Romney is “out of touch” with fellow Americans, I would submit that it is Obama, in this pandering for votes to the gay community within his base, who is out of touch with the majority of Americans — you know, 30 states, large majorities, constitutional amendments?

    Some people (read: gay advocates or other liberals) point to polls being about 50-50 or barely over 50 percent in favor of gay marriage and that the country’s view on the subject is “evolving,” but it seems to me that is just a case of hope springing eternal in the pitty-pat hearts of gay people. Polls don’t count like votes and when people vote on it, they vote against it by large margins, just as they did in NC.

    Oh, and I know it’s because Obama’s position on this matter has been “evolving” (there’s that word again), but why is that so when if Romney changes position on an issue (even one from years ago), he’s a “flip-flopper”? Ummm, must be because Obama’s position is so “nuanced.” What BS.

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  11. brightlightComment by brightlight
    May 10, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    This is good news for Obama opponents.I have stated previously that Obama will lose the general election because of his unabashed support for abortion not only in this country but world wide. He steadfastly refuses to listen to anyone,from the pope,cardinals,bishops, priests,spiritual leaders of all stripes.These people work for God,who in his mercy is trying to persuade him to change. He won’t hear it.

    Votes are his only concern.But it will be the shrill voices that he is catering to that will cost him his presidency.He will have them to thank and it will be a bitter pill to swallow after he swallows his pride.

    His overwhelming victory in 08 was due to many christian and jewish voters who did’nt care about abortion but loved his hype pulled the lever for the most amoral president in modern times, if not ever.We,I believe,are paying the price for abandoning our faith values to have elected such a self possesed individual into office who regularly leaves God out of most issues but selectively includes him in others,while making wise use of Eric Holder to advance the notion of hate speachto help accomplish his goals when churches are rightfully applying the word sin to any of the wrongful agendas put forth to deminish morality.That is their job.

    Now, on this issue of homosexual marriage, Joe Biden,a catholic mind you,opens the door for Obama by endorsing homosexual marriage and sees it as the same as marriage in traditional terms.I wonder if his parish priest sees it that way. I think not.Enter Obama.After Joe’s trial ballon and threats from homosexual groups to hold back campaign funding, Obama,DESPITE THE OBJECTION OF HIS SPIRITUAL ADVISOR went ahead and personnaly endorsed homosexual marriage anyway.
    As opposed to last time,32 states have already voted to ban homosexual marriage. so the blame this time will not be on the voters but on Obama and others who espouse it’s approval.
    In the past the abortion and homosexual communities,rebuffed by legitimate churhes,ran after weak,self-possesed politicians to due their bidding.The issues were hijacked from the pulpit to the podium and they were successful. Now the tide is turning and the pulpits are finally being used to fight back for what’s right.
    In his comments in 08, Obama, when he was NOT for homosexual marriage said that “God was in the mix” In traditional marriage.Yesterday GOD WAS NOT MENTIONED AT ALL.However,what was advanced was to accept a shift and rethink what we know as a value centered TRADTION GROUNDED IN RELIGIOUS TRUTHS FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME and accomodate the lie of his political agenda and those who support it’s values.This has become the mantra of his administration even to children. You can never start to young.
    So, Obama will indeed lose.God will not be mocked or used in this way ,his ministers vindicated.It is time for citizens to be vigilant and for once standup for what they beleive in.

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    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      May 10, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

      Great post brightlight. I agree with you, this 11th hour “conversion” will do nothing to help Obama with the election, mainly because the voters who approve would have voted for him anyway. He’ll hardly gain any votes from those who weren’t supporting him to begin with.

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  12. jenerseaComment by jenersea
    May 10, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

    Obozo announced his proclamation that he is a homosexual activist because of what happened in North Carolina and he does not want that to succeed further in this country. Look at his past actions; not enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act, DADT. Worse of all stating his religious beliefs as a Christian prompted him to act. What a joke. If he truly understood Christianity, he would realize that he will be held responsible for promoting abominations that GOD has pronounced upon homosexuality. He will be held accountable on Judgement Day for his actions in this. A sad sad day in America when the so called leader chooses the World over GOD. Stand by for more evil to come. You know the saddest thing so far has been the deafening silence of the World Church Leaders over this. Granted it was only yesterday that it happened, but lets see how many actually come out against Obozo on this.

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  13. cynicalobserverComment by cynicalobserver
    May 11, 2012 @ 12:54 am

    You never know by the life style of Obama but many Gay men have wives and children.

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  14. cxComment by genesal
    May 11, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    Sounds like he might have ‘manned up’ in his college days.

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