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Obama praises New York on same-sex marriage but won't endorse it

June 29, 2011|By James Oliphant
  • President Obama answers a question at a White House news conference.
President Obama answers a question at a White House news conference. (Michael Reynolds / European…)

While saying that gays and lesbians deserve to be “treated like all Americans,” President Obama at a press conference Wednesday came short of endorsing gay marriage.

“I’m not going to make news on that today,” Obama joked in response to a question on where he stands on the issue.

The president has been on the record as opposing same-sex marriage, but Wednesday, he attempted, as he has previously, to attempt to carefully navigate a middle position. At a news conference at the White House East Room, he lauded the recent move by the New York Legislature to legalize the practice, calling it “a good thing.”

Interactive: Track gay marriage rights in the U.S.

At the same time, Obama said that the question remains one for states to resolve, not the federal government.

Obama tonight will host an LGBT event at the White House—and he lauded his administration’s accomplishments on behalf of the gay and lesbian community, including ending the military’s "don't ask, don't tell" policy and dropping the defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“We’re moving in a direction of greater equality, and I think that’s a good thing," he said.

But as his reelection campaign heats up, Obama gave no sign that he will move toward openly embracing same-sex marriage, a priority for gay and lesbian advocates.

"I'll keep giving you the same answer until I give you a different one,” he told one reporter.

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