President Obama’s refusal to endorse gay marriage comes under intense scrutiny Thursday, as he will address gay supporters at a campaign fundraiser in New York City, while simultaneously the New York Legislature readies to legalize gay marriages.
Obama is not expected to come out in support of gay marriage at the event where at least 600 guests will pay up to $38,500 a seat in support of his re-election. But it is his first fundraiser before a select lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender audience and politics demands that he comment on the legislation that New York state appears ready to approve.
Obama has a plus/minus record in the gay community when it comes to their issues. The Associated Press reports that he received praise for telling the Department of Justice to not defend a federal law that defined marriage as between a woman and a man, and for his repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military. But many gays remain unhappy about the president's stance on gay marriage.
The president admits that his perspective on the issue is evolving. He openly supports gay civil unions, but has not endorsed marriage as an option for lesbian and gay couples.
Richard Socarides, the leader of the advocacy group EqualityMatters, told a reporter that sees the position that the president is in, and hopes that Obama may go beyond the expected rhetoric.
"I do not think that he is going to articulate a new position on Thursday, but I do think that the timing of what we think will be a big win in New York ... does up the pressure on him to do something and might just create enough of a political magic moment to bring about a surprise," says Socarides.
(Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)