President Barack Obama may have had a change of heart on same-sex marriage.
Republican Mitt Romney says he has not.
“My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman,” Romney told reporters today in Oklahoma City. “This is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social, issues,” said Romney, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president, “but I’ve had the same view on this since running for office.”
It took no time at all to discern the potential impact of the president’s statement today on the presidential election campaign fundraising underway.
“Polls show that the public is on our side,” Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York wrote in a fund-raising email dispatched today. ”President Obama is too. But you can be sure there are some who will attack him for taking this stance. We must keep up the fight. Marriage equality depends on it.”
Republican Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate in 2008, cited the announcement in a fundraising letter for his political action committee, Huck PAC. “We only support candidates who support traditional marriage and who are pro-life,” Huckabee wrote. “Congress and our state legislatures are stacked with conservatives who don’t want our president and the federal government defining marriage for us.”
The president, who in the past has supported civil unions for gay couples, declared his support for same-sex marriage during an interview with ABC News airing on the network’s evening news program.
“I have to tell you, ” Obama said in an excerpt of the interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts aired this afternoon, “as I said, I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue. I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated equally and fairly.”
“I’ve stood on the side of broader equality for the LGBT community,” Obama said, pointing to his elimination of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for gays and lesbians serving in the military.
”I had hesitated on gay marriage, in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient,” he said, adding that he has been “sensitive” to the fact that, for a lot of people, the word marriage evokes “powerful” beliefs.
“At a certain point, ” the president said, “I’ve just concluded that, for me personally, it is immportant for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”