President Barack Obama praised New York state lawmakers who were debating landmark legislation today to legalize same-gender marriage, saying that’s what democracy’s all about. But the president stopped short of embracing same-gender marriage himself.
That served to spotlight the president’s own views on same-gender marriage, a sore point with same-gender supporters who’ve otherwise warmed to him. The president has said his views are “evolving,” but for now he supports civil unions, not same-gender marriage.
“Traditionally marriage has been decided by the states and right now I understand there’s a little debate going on here in New York,” the president said to laughter. He said New York’s lawmakers are “doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do.”
Debate on the measure continued into the night at the statehouse, and the outcome was uncertain.
As Obama spoke, a handful of people shouted out “marriage!” And Obama said, “I heard you guys.”