Obama answering reporters’ at yesterday’s news conference:
With respect to the issue of whether gays and lesbians should be able to get married, I’ve spoken about this recently. As I’ve said, my feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this. I have friends, I have people who work for me, who are in powerful, strong, long-lasting gay or lesbian unions. And they are extraordinary people, and this is something that means a lot to them and they care deeply about.
At this point, what I’ve said is, is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have. And I think — and I think that’s the right thing to do. But I recognize that from their perspective it is not enough, and I think is something that we’re going to continue to debate and I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward.
Q But the military does not recognize civil unions, right?
THE PRESIDENT: I understand. And as I said, this is going to be an issue that is not unique to the military — this is an issue that extends to all of our society, and I think we’re all going to have to have a conversation about it.
On the Defense of Marriage Act the president told The Advocate,
As I said before, I have a whole bunch of really smart lawyers who are looking at a whole range of options. My preference wherever possible is to get things done legislatively because I think it — it gains a legitimacy, even among people who don’t like the change, that is valuable.
So with “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I have such great confidence in the effective implementation of this law because it was repealed. We would have gotten to the same place if the court order had made it happen, but I think it would have engendered resistance. So I’m always looking for a way to get it done, if possible, through our elected representatives. That may not be possible in DOMA’s case. That’s something that I think we have to strategize on over the next several months.
The president left open the possibility that his administration would not defend the constitutionality of DOMA, and that a remedy to unequal treatment for gays would come through the courts.