Obama Says His Stance on Same-Sex Marriage Is Evolving

Posted October 28, 2010 at 9:58am

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that his position on same-sex marriage is evolving and that “it’s pretty clear” that public opinion is heading toward broader acceptance of gay marriage.

During a sit-down with liberal bloggers, Obama said he is not willing to endorse same-sex marriage because of his “understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.” But he went on to say that he struggles with his views on the issue as he is surrounded by friends and staff members in committed gay partnerships.

“Attitudes evolve, including mine,” he said. “It’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about.”

To date, Obama has endorsed civil unions but not gay marriage. He acknowledged that his opposition to same-sex marriage may put him on the wrong side of history.

“I think it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going,” he said.

On another front, the president said he has a strategy in place for pushing through a repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ during the lame-duck session of Congress. While he gave no details, he said he plans to be involved in lobbying GOP Senators to help repeal the military policy barring openly gay service members. The repeal is currently rolled into the defense authorization bill, which is slated for a vote when lawmakers return after the midterm elections.

Obama called on gay rights activists to redirect their energy away from a pending court case on the issue and toward bringing a handful of Senate Republicans on board with their cause.

“You’re financing a very successful, very effective legal strategy, and yet the only really thing you need to do is make sure that we get two to five Republican votes in the Senate,” he said, noting that he expects a GOP filibuster over the issue. “If we can get through that cloture vote, this is done.”

The president also touched on the issue of filibuster reform.

“If we do not fix how the filibuster is used in the Senate, then it is going to be very difficult for us over the long term to compete in a very fast-moving global environment,” he said.

The tactic has gone from something once used in a “very limited fashion” to being abused to create “the kinds of procedural nonsense that makes it just hard for us to do business,” Obama said. He noted that GOP filibusters prevented a number of his Treasury nominees from advancing at a time when the financial sector was collapsing.

“I believe it’s something that we’ve got to take seriously,” he said.