Obama backs gay marriage; Americans bitterly divided on issue

Written by: Pti
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Barack Obama
Washington, May 10: Ending months of hedging, Barack Obama has become the first US President to endorse same-sex marriage, a move that has set the stage for an election year clash over the polarising social issue.

Obama said his views on this issue have evolved now and he thinks that same-sex couples should be able to get married. "At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally it is important ... to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he said yesterday in a hastily-arranged interview with ABC News.

Obama's statement prompted potential Republican challenger Mitt Romney to say that he continues to believe that "marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman" and that Obama had "changed his view" on the issue. "I have the same view on marriage that I had when I was Governor (of Massachusetts) and I've stated many times. I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman," Romney said at a campaign.

Another Republican leader Rick Santorum, who withdrew from the Republican presidential primaries recently, said that Obama had "consistently fought against protecting the institution of marriage from radical social engineering at both the state and federal level... "The charade is now over, no doubt (it is) an attempt to galvanise his core hard left supporters in advance of the November election."

Giving reaction of the various camps on the statement made by the US President, The New York Times wrote: "With Nation Split, Obama Calls It a Personal Conviction." The Washington Post wrote: "Obama's announcement gave an immediate jolt to the decades-long movement for gay equality at a moment when a growing number of states are moving to ban —or legalise —same-sex unions and as polls show a majority of Americans support marriage rights."


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