Obama Affirms Support For Repealing DOMA, Says His Stance On Gay Marriage Is ‘Evolving’

On Tuesday evening, with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell headed for the president’s desk, Barack Obama signaled that he will continue to push for gay rights by tackling the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and emphasized that his attitudes on gay marriage are “evolving.”

During an interview with The Advocate, the president laid out a timeline for implementing the DADT repeal, which he said would take “months” not “years,” and stirred up hope for further gay rights reforms under his watch.

Tracing comments he made during a sitdown with progressive bloggers in October, Obama asserted his attitudes on gay marriage “are evolving,” a significant shift from his previous stance on the issue. The president maintained, however, that he still favors “robust civil union[s]” and understands that the issue is a complex one.

“I’ve wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation,” Obama said. “But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.”

Asked what other gay rights legislation the White House might be expected to take on in the next few years, the president responded:

I have been struck — let me take the former — repealing DOMA, getting [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] done, those are things that should be done. I think those are natural next steps legislatively.

Obama continued, explaining that he would look for a legislative solution to combat DOMA, which also allows states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states:

As I said before, I have a whole bunch of really smart lawyers who are looking at a whole range of options. My preference wherever possible is to get things done legislatively because I think it — it gains a legitimacy, even among people who don’t like the change, that is valuable.

Despite the positive rhetoric, the president conceded that Republican control of the House would likely mire progress on these issues, though he insisted that attitudes toward the gay community “are changing rapidly.”

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Posted by on Dec 28 2010. Filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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