Monday, June 20, 2011

Obama’s Views on Gay Marriage ‘Evolving’

via The New York Times By Sheryl Gay Stolberg

Driving across the flatlands of Illinois with Barack Obama during the Senate race of 2004, Kevin Thompson sometimes found himself tutoring the candidate on gay rights.

Mr. Thompson, then a traveling aide, recalls long conversations about topics like the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion that sparked the gay rights movement, gay adoption — Mr. Obama once volunteered that Mr. Thompson and his partner would make “great parents,” Mr. Thompson recalled — and same-sex marriage, which Mr. Obama has in the past opposed.

Mr. Thompson, an Obama supporter, is skeptical about that. “To this day,” he said, “I don’t think Barack Obama has any issue with two people of the same gender getting married.”

Now President Obama says his views on same-sex marriage are “evolving,” and as he runs for re-election he is seeking support from gay donors who want to know where he stands.

This week, he will headline a $1,250-a-plate “Gala with the Gay Community” in Manhattan, his first such event as president; on June 29, he will host a Gay Pride reception at the White House. He is doing so at time when the New York Legislature is considering whether to make same-sex marriage legal — a vote that the president will no doubt be asked about while in New York.

The White House would not comment on whether Mr. Obama was ready to endorse same-sex marriage. But one Democratic strategist close to the White House, speaking only on the condition of anonymity, said some senior advisers “are looking at the tactics of how this might be done if the president chose to do it.”

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