This article is one of 12 that examine where President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stand on some of the issues that are important to voters.
Obama stated his personal support for same-sex marriage in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News on May 9.
“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” he said, adding that it has historically been a state issue and not a federal one.
In December 2010, he signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” a military policy that banned gay U.S. service members from openly serving in the military. It was implemented in 2011.
Romney opposes gay marriage and says marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s my own preference,” he said in a speech shortly after Obama’s interview with ABC News.
Romney would push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, according to his campaign website.
How much does it matter what the president’s view on gay marriage is?
John Petrocik, chair of the MU Department of Political Science, said there is a federal law on the books, the Defense of Marriage Act, that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.
“Obama has said he does not support this legislation, and he’s instructed his attorney general to not defend it if it should ever reach the Supreme Court.”
Currently, states are not required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state, he added.
“State governments have traditionally governed marriage laws, but the federal government has a lot of power on these things if it puts its mind to it,” he said. “They can pass regulations or laws such as the Defense of Marriage Act.”
He also said it is not likely that an amendment to the Constitution regarding same-sex marriage will be passed.