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Gay marriage backers anxiously await Obama interview

May 9, 2012 | 10:03 am

Rainbow flag

Gay-rights advocates in California said they are eagerly awaiting to hear whether President Obama  shifts his opposition to gay marriage in an interview scheduled for Wednesday.

The president will be interviewed by "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts amid growing debate over whether Obama should embrace same-sex unions.

Heidi Shink, a West Hollywood lesbian activist, said she hopes Obama will come out in favor of gay marriage. 

She said president has done "more than any president in history" for the LGBT community, and pointed toward his action on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and other policies that indicate where he stands.

"I think we understand that there have been these great victories, and by the same token, there has not been such great verbal advocacy," Shink said. "This may be the final frontier for Obama. ... But at the end of the day, we all support him.

“That said, speaking your heart and taking a stand and leading from the right side of history is what advocates want.”

Vice President Joe Biden set off renewed discussion of the issue when he announced on a Sunday talk show that he was "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex marriage. The sentiment was echoed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday.

Gay rights groups hailed the statements, with the Human Rights Campaign splashing a large color photo of a grinning Biden and Duncan across its website.

So far, Obama's spokesman has said the president's position has not changed.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, asked whether the president, like Biden, was comfortable with gays marrying, said Obama was comfortable with same-sex couples "being entitled to the same rights and the civil rights and civil liberties as other Americans." He said he would leave the question of whether marriage is a civil liberty to "civil libertarians or lawyers."

Obama's top reelection strategist, David Axelrod, insisted Biden's comments were "entirely consistent with the president's position, which is that couples who are married, whether they are gay or heterosexual couples, are entitled to the very same rights and very same liberties."


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Photo: Trey King waves a rainbow flag while joining advocates of same-sex marriage in West Hollywood during a demonstration in 2010. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times