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Obama likely to discuss 'evolving' gay marriage view in interview

May 09, 2012|By Kathleen Hennessey
  • President Obama arrives to speak at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies 18th Annual Gala Dinner in Washington on May 8, 2012.
President Obama arrives to speak at the Asian Pacific American Institute… (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images )

WASHINGTON -- President Obama is sitting down Wednesday afternoon for an interview with "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts as the White House tries to contain fallout from Vice President Joe Biden's gay marriage comments.

The interview was added quickly to the president's schedule after Biden appeared to come out in favor of same-sex marriages Sunday. Excerpts from the interview, which will air on ABC news Wednesday evening, are expected to be distributed in the afternoon.

The vice president's comments deviated from the president's position and put considerable and mounting pressure on the White House to provide an update on Obama's stance.

The president has opposed same-sex marriages, but has also said his views on the subject are "evolving."

The shortcomings of that awkward position have been on full display this week. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was pounded with questions on the issue on Monday and found himself giving elliptical answers. Carney hinted then that the president would offer a clearer view of his position in an interview.

Anticipation on Wednesday was running high. Gay rights activists widely believe that the president privately supports same-sex marriages, but has withheld a public declaration out of concerns about alienating independent voters in key swing states.

Obama's statements will come the morning after a setback for gay rights activists. Voters in North Carolina on Tuesday approved of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

In another twist of a confusing stance, the president opposed the North Carolina measure, saying it would take away rights already granted to same-sex couples in the state.

"He believes the North Carolina measure singles out and discriminates against committed gay and lesbian couples, which is why he did not support it," said Cameron French, press secretary for the Obama for America in North Carolina. French said the president was "disappointed" by its passage.

Polling shows Americans remain divided on the issue. Nationally, roughly half of all Americans say they support allowing same-sex couples to marry. A newly released Gallup poll puts the split at 50% in favor, 48% opposed. A Pew Research Center poll released two weeks ago had a similar 47%-43% division.

Original source: Obama likely to discuss 'evolving' gay marriage view in interview

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