“This is going to be a big contrast in the campaign because you’ve got Governor Romney saying we should actually have a constitutional amendment installing the notion that you can’t have same-sex marriages,” Obama said in an interview with The View scheduled to air on Tuesday.
Last week the president for the first time announced his support for gay marriage, while Romney reiterated his view that marriage is “a relationship between a man and a woman.”
In the interview, Obama also said he believes the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but stopped short of saying whether his administration would push to repeal it, an indication that his support for gay marriage is largely symbolic, as it remains a state issue.
“This is something that historically had been determined at the state level and part of my believing ultimately that civil unions weren’t sufficient, and I’ve been a longtime supporter of civil unions for same sex couples, was partly because of the issue of social security benefits and other laws,” the president said.
Polls and ballot initiatives suggest the same-sex marriage endorsement was a risky move — it’s presently unpopular in several battleground states, including North Carolina, where this week voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment banning gay marriage. Democrats will hold their national convention there in September.
However, Obama’s public pronouncement on the issue has energized the gay community and secured for him the kind of campaign donations that his super-PACs had yet to deliver.
On Thursday, Obama raked in $15 million at a fundraiser hosted by actor George Clooney. In June, the president will return to Los Angeles for an LGBT gala and a separate fundraiser hosted by Ryan Murphy, co-creator of the show "Glee," and his fiancé David Miller. Obama hopes to pull in another $10 million from the two events.