WASHINGTON--On the day he signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal, allowing gays to serve openly in the military, President Obama on Wednesday said his views on gay marriage are "evolving." Obama is a supporter of civil unions, but not of gay marriage.
Said Obama at a year end press conference--before flying to Hawaii to join First Lady Michelle--"with -- with respect to the issue of whether gays and
lesbians should be able to get married, I've spoken about this
recently. As I've said, you know, my feelings about this are
constantly evolving. I struggle with this. I have friends, I have
people who work for me, who are in powerful, strong, long-lasting gay
or lesbian unions. They are extraordinary people. And this is something that means a
lot to them and they care deeply about.
"At this point, what I've said is -- is that my baseline is a
strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal
rights that married couples have. And I think -- and -- and I think
that's the right thing to do.
"But I recognize that from their perspective it is not enough.
And I think this is something that we're going to continue to debate
and I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward."
Asked about the military not recognizing civil unions, Obama said, "I understand. And I -- and as I said, this is going to be an issue that is not unique to the military. This is an
issue that extends to all of our society, and I think we're all going
to have to have a conversation about it."