WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday praised New York’s move to legalize same-sex marriage but stopped short of endorsing it himself, maintaining a stance that has frustrated many liberal supporters.
“What I’ve seen happen over the last several years, and what happened in New York last week, I think, was a good thing,” he told a new conference.
New York became the most populous state to allow gay marriage on June 24, in a high-profile victory for gay rights activists ahead of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
But Obama held to his cautious line on an issue that could alienate social conservatives as he runs for re-election next year, saying the marriage issue is a matter that should be decided by the states, not the federal government.
“Each community is going to be different and each state’s going to be different,” Obama said.
Obama, who backs civil unions for same-sex couples, hinted late last year that he might eventually give his backing to gay marriage. He said then that his views were “evolving.”
But at the news conference, he would not be drawn out on whether he personally supports same-sex marriage.
“I’m not going to make news on that today,” he said.
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