President Obama's campaign said he was "disappointed" that North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in the state.
"The president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples," Obama North Carolina campaign spokesman Cameron French said, in a Tuesday statement on the vote over Amendment 1.
“He believes the North Carolina measure singles out and discriminates against committed gay and lesbian couples, which is why he did not support it," said French. "President Obama has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples and is disappointed in the passage of this amendment. On a federal level, he has ended the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act and extended key benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.”
Those comments come as the administration faces increasing pressure from pro-gay rights supporters to fully embrace same-sex marriage.
Obama, who supports civil unions but has not publicly endorsed gay marriage, has described his own views on the matter as "evolving," but senior members of his administration have staked positions beyond the president.
On Sunday, Vice President Biden said he was "absolutely comfortable" extending the same rights to same-sex couples as heterosexual couples. Education Secretary Arne DuncanArne Starkey DuncanStripping opportunity from DC's children Catherine Lhamon will make our schools better, fairer, and more just Providing the transparency parents deserve MORE on Monday also said he supports gay marriage.
This week, the head of the Democratic Caucus said that a majority of House Democrats supported Biden's view, increasing pressure on Obama.
Voters in the North Carolina referendum approved the gay-marriage ban overwhelmingly, by 61 to 39 percent.
The state amendment had attracted national attention with former President Clinton recording robocalls encouraging voters to reject the measure, saying it would "hurt families and drive away jobs."