White House official: President thinks gay marriage is a state issue

Tue. June 21, 2011 11:48 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

president barack obama

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President Obama's back and forth gay marriage debate

Washington, D.C. - As President Obama gets ready to attend a gay gala in New York City Thursday, the heated debate continues on whether he supports same-sex marriage or not. Now a White House official says Obama thinks gay marriage is a state issue.

In an email sent to Huffington Post, the official said: "Although the President believes that this is an issue best addressed by the states, he also firmly believes that committed gay and lesbian couples should receive equal protection under the law."

President Obama might arrive in New York State at the same time the legislature votes to legalize gay marriage.

He's also getting ready to host a Gay Pride Month event at the White House.

Last week, a White House official called the President's view on gay marriage "evolving." That statement is in sharp contrast to a 1996 questionnaire Barack Obama filed when running for Illinois State Senate.

Responding to a questionnaire submitted to Outlines (now Windy City Times), an LGBT newspaper in Chicago, Obama stated, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."

When asked about the 1996 questionare, which bears Barack Obama's signature, White House press secretary Dan Pfeiffer told reporters last Friday that it was "actually filled out by someone else."

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

Many gay rights advocates call the President's stance on same-sex marriage vague, while some Democrats have come to the aid of Obama's record on gay rights.

Obama is "the best president this country has ever had on LGBT issues," Colorado Rep. Jared Polis told the Huffington Post on Saturday. "[Gay Americans] have never had anything close to this much of an advocate in the White House in the United States."

Jackie Kaplan, a Chicago Democrat who was co-chairwoman of a committee of gays and lesbians supporting Mr. Obama, told the New York Times, "Why spend a lot of time on an issue that is not going to happen? The Defense of Marriage law is on the books, we're not going to overturn that, let's talk about how we can build more equality."