President Obama told liberal bloggers Wednesday his opinion about same-sex marriage was evolving and that he thought cultural "trendlines" were heading toward a broader acceptance of same-sex marriage.
Obama, who's been on record as a proponent of civil unions but an opponent of same-sex marriage, said he wasn't ready to reverse his position but suggested his mindset on the issue could "evolve."
Obama reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage but said "attitudes evolve, including mine" during a roundtable meeting with liberal bloggers, according to a transcript published by Oliver Willis, one of the bloggers who was present.
"And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships," he said. "And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. The one thing I will say today is I think it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going…The arc of history."
Obama has faced criticism from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community for his work toward gay rights during his first year in office. LGBT activists express frustration that the White House hasn't been active enough in working to eliminate the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting openly gay or lesbian members from serving in the armed forces.
The administration stoked that ire further when, as a matter of procedure, it filed an appeal to a federal judge's decision to strike down the policy as unconstitutional.
But Obama, who's looking to appeal in the closing week of the 2010 campaign to as many members of his base as possible, also defended his record on gay rights and pointedly rejected criticism that he hadn't done enough on the issue.
"I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think that the disillusionment is justified," Obama told AMERICAblog's Joe Sudbay. "I don’t begrudge the LGBT community pushing, but the flip side of it is that this notion somehow that this administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community, as opposed to a stalwart ally of the LGBT community, I think is wrong."