President Barack Obama has said he will not push for a federal law allowing gay couples to marry in his second term.
Answering questions sent in by youth voters on MTV yesterday (26 October), he said it is important for individual states to decide the law on marriage equality.
He said: ‘Historically, marriages have been defined at the state level. And there’s a conversation going on.
‘There’s some states that are still having the debate, and I think for us to try to legislate federally into this is probably the wrong way to go.’
He continued: ‘The courts are going to be examining these issues. I’ve stood up and said I’m opposed to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
‘There are a couple of cases that are working their way through the courts, and my expectation is that DOMA will be overturned.
‘But ultimately, I believe that if we have that conversation at the state level, the evolution that’s taking place in this country will get us to a place where we are going to be recognizing everybody fairly.’
In the run-up to the upcoming November presidential vote, Obama has been drumming up enthusiasm with young voters.
Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine last week, he said: ‘You know, kids have good instincts. They look at [Romney] and say, “Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell”.’
In 2008, Obama won the 18-29 demographic by more than 30 points and is likely to do well there again.
As the first sitting president in United States history to back marriage equality, campaigners have described Obama as doing more for gay rights than any other American leader in history.
In contrast, his Republican opponent Mitt Romney believes in a federal ban on same-sex marriage, and also plans to bring in legislation to stop gay couples from adopting children.
Obama’s comments come shortly after it was revealed by polling organization Gallup that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters could sway the election.