Obama Gay Marriage Stance a Nod to 2012 Battlegrounds


Obama Not Alone in Grappling With Same-Sex Marriage

Some activists even go so far as to say that the president's reticence on marriage equality is not a top concern, given the administration's advancement of LGBT rights during the first term and the chilly legal climate toward same-sex marriage that still exists in a majority of states.

"Part of the success we've had in the gay rights movement is meeting people where they're at and continuing the conversation and bringing them along," Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign said of Obama's "evolving" view of gay marriage. "A lot of fair-minded people in this country are still grappling with this issue."

More than half of Americans -- 53 percent -- say it should be legal for gays and lesbians to marry, according to the most recent ABC News-Washington Post poll. Seven years ago, 32 percent supported same-sex unions.

"The president's position on gay marriage is that he has been against it," Pfeiffer said. "But he has said that the country is evolving on this and he is evolving on this."

Obama told a crowd of gay donors at a fundraiser last week that he believes gay couples "deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country," but added that "traditionally marriage has been decided by the states."

"Slowly but surely we find the way forward," Obama said.

For some of Obama's most ardent supporters, his stance is frustrating and, at the very least, not helping to mobilize his liberal base.

"I think they are underestimating the cynicism in the community," said Cleve Jones, a leading gay rights activist. "They need to re-energize the progressive base -- including the gay part of it -- that was so excited back in 2008, and they're upset. I'm not seeing or feeling any kind of re-energizing going on."

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