By Justin Sink - 05/09/12 08:42 PM EDT
Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he continued to believe "marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman" and that he believed President Obama had "changed his view" on the issue during a campaign stop in Oklahoma City.
"I have the same view on marriage that I had when I was governor and I've stated many times," Romney said. "I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman."
Romney said that based on the media reports he had seen, it seemed like the president had "changed his view" on the topic, but hedged by saying he would leave the media to judge the president's statement.
“I believe that based upon the interview that he gave today, he had changed his view, but you’re a better judge of that than I,” Romney said.
"This is a very tender and sensitive topic as are many social issues," Romney said.
Romney also said that "states are able to make decisions in regard" to issues like hospital visits and shared insurance for homosexual partners. Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt quickly pounced on that statement, saying Romney "refused" to support federal hospital visitation rights for gays and lesbians.
.@MittRomney just refused to say he supports hospital visitation rights at a federal level for gays and lesbians.— Ben LaBolt (@BenLaBolt) May 9, 2012
Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to voice support for same-sex couples being allowed to marry during an interview Wednesday with ABC News.
"At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said.
The president said his views had "evolved" after years of discussions with friends, family and staff on the issue.
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors — when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together," he said.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus accused President Obama of having "played politics" on the issue of gay marriage in a statement earlier Wednesday afternoon, pledging that the Republican platform would continue to oppose efforts to legalize same sex marriage.
"While President Obama has played politics on this issue, the Republican Party and our presumptive nominee Mitt Romney have been clear. We support maintaining marriage between one man and one woman and would oppose any attempts to change that," said Priebus.