On Gay Marriage, Is Obama a Brave Warrior or a Political Late-Comer?

"It's a struggle for many people," she said. "His struggle and his being honest and open about that, I think, will help others have the conversation — whatever conclusion they reach."

The tangible effects of Obama's comments are still being weighed. He endorsed no legislation, federal or local, and gave no indication that he wants to get his hands dirty in the issue while the economy is the top priority for voters.

Four states have gay marriage on their ballots: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. Obama's backing for gay marriage certainly emboldens supporters of the cause, but how those advocates harness the president's message into support in the polling booth is a different matter.

"The fact that the president has helped create a moment where we have this conversation, I think, will help in each of those states," Stachelberg said. "People will figure out how to take advantage."

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