President Obama's view on gay marriage: 'Evolving'

Sun. June 19, 2011 11:32 AM by News Staff

White House changes story on 1996 questionnaire published in Chicago LGBT newspaper

Washington, D.C. - President Barack Obama once wrote that he supported gay marriage, but now his aides say his view is "evolving."

When Barack Obama was running for Illinois State Senate in 1996, he responded to a questionnaire submitted to Outlines (now Windy City Times), an LGBT newspaper in Chicago, stating that, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."

On Friday, President Obama's White House press secretary Dan Pfeiffer told reporters at the Netroots Nation blog conference that the 1996 questionnaire, which bears Barack Obama's signature, was "actually filled out by someone else." (Video below)

Pfeiffer was reportedly booed as he continued the public interview, stating, "The president has never favored same-sex marriage. He is against it. The country is evolving on this, and he is evolving on it."

Windy City Times publisher Tracy Baim continues to stand by the authenticity of the 1996 questionnaire.

After backlash over Pfieffer's comment, which some have called an outright lie, the White House now says that the President was expressing support for civil unions, not gay marriage, when answering the 1996 questionnaire.

Still, as the President gets ready to host a Gay Pride event at the White House at the end of the month, and attend a "Gala With the Gay Community" this week in New York City, plenty of people want to know where he really stands.

That is especially the case in New York, where it soon might be legal for gays and lesbians to marry their partners.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told the New York Times that he thinks Obama supports gay marriage in principle, but doesn't think it's politically workable at this time.

"My own view is that I look at President Obama's record, he was probably inclined to think that same-sex marriage was legitimate, but as a candidate for president in 2008 that would have been an unwise thing to say. I don't mean that he's being hypocritical," Frank said.