It wasn’t until May of 2012 that US President Barack Obama officially evolved on the issue of gay marriage and publicly declared his support.
It was nearly six months before the 2012 presidential election and the conventional wisdom was that Obama would remain mum on the issue until after voters had decided between he and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
But it turns out Obama had wanted to declare his support even before his first presidential election in 2008, according to a new memoir by Obama’s chief campaign strategist David Axelrod.
‘Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a "sacred union,"’ Axelrod writes.
The political advice Obama was given was that he say he was in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples but to not share his support of marriage equality.
Axelrod recalls an event where Obama told the crowd he was against gay marriage and after told his strategist: ‘I’m not very good at bullsh-tting.’
But he managed to keep the position that he opposed same-sex marriage for religious purposes for four more years.
‘Having prided himself on forthrightness, though, Obama never felt comfortable with his compromise and, no doubt, compromised position,’ Axelrod writes. ‘He routinely stumbled over the question when it came up in debates or interviews.’