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Gay Marriage Stance Distracting From Obama's Jobs Message

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TWC News: Gay Marriage Stance Distracting From Obama's Jobs Message
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In recent days, Vice President Joe Biden and cabinet secretaries have said they are in favor of same-sex marriage, putting pressure on President Barack Obama to the same, but changing the president's position on the issue could come at a political cost. NY1's Josh Robin filed this report.

President Barack Obama wants to talk jobs, but a simmering social issue is diluting his message: gay marriage.

Scripted or unscripted, it flared up again Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" when Vice President Joe Biden stated his support for same-sex marriage.

"I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women are entitled to the same rights," he said.

The president is opposed, but says he's evolving, disappointing some seeing an otherwise solid gay rights record.

Longtime activist Evan Wolfson points to a new poll showing most independents support same sex marriage, enough, perhaps, to dilute social conservatives who may be riled up enough to vote in large numbers if Obama changes his mind.

A new stance from Obama may also bump turnout among left-leaning voters.

"Even people who may not fully agree on the freedom to marry will respect the president for saying what he believes and being true to his convictions and then turning to the bigger, broader questions that most people are really going to make their decision for president on," Wolfson said.

Observers, meanwhile, see a downside for Obama to continue staying as a supporter of gay rights but not of their right to marry.

To them, it makes him appear indecisive and calculating and makes it that much harder for Democrats to describe Republican Mitt Romney the same way.

"Current politicians don't really like to change their positions. But the city and country and the state have all evolved on this, and I believe that as we go forward, more and more places, my marriage will be treated equally," said Manhattan Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell.

Former New York State Governor George Pataki held a conference call on behalf of Romney Tuesday.

"Vice President Biden has made it plain, he's for it. President Obama, on the other hand, is looking to have both sides," Pataki said.

Obama's spokesman says the president himself will have to describe whether his view has changed, setting up the possibility of a shift whenever reporters get a chance to ask him directly.

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