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Obama and the Politics of Gay Marriage: It's Complicated Obama and the Politics of Gay Marriage: It's Complicated

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Obama and the Politics of Gay Marriage: It's Complicated

Young and black voters are at odds on the issue, and it's anathema in some swing states .


President Barack Obama delivers his remarks at the Human Rights Campaign’s 15th annual national dinner in Washington Saturday Oct. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The chance that President Obama will finish “evolving” on gay marriage before November is about as slim as the winning margin he or Mitt Romney can assume in this horserace.

The perennial debate over the president’s views on the subject was rekindled when Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday that he was “absolutely comfortable’’ with same-sex marriage. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made similar remarks on Monday.


(RELATED: White House Scrambling on Biden's Same-Sex Marriage Remarks)

Pressed to explain the apparent discrepancies between the position of the president and his Cabinet members, White House Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that he had “no update on the president’s personal views.’’ Indeed, Obama’s groundbreaking record on gay rights and friendly public remarks suggest he personally accepted same-sex marriage long ago. Though Obama described himself in Dec. 2010 as “evolving,’’ it’s hard to see his unwillingness to declare his support for gay marriage as anything other than political expedience.

For evidence look no further than  North Carolina, poised Tuesday to join the majority of states with constitutional bans on gay marriage. One of nine swing states where Obama’s re-election campaign began a major advertising campaign on Monday, North Carolina looms as one of the most challenging. Obama carried the state by less than 15,000 votes in 2008, and Democrats chose it to host the party’s nominating convention in 2012.


“He won here by such a narrow margin that almost anything could make the difference’’ said longtime Democratic strategist Gary Pearce, who is based in Raleigh. “I don’t blame him for being cautious. The country is also evolving and he doesn’t want to get there too early.’’

Sophie Quinton contributed to this report. contributed to this article.

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