President Obama is said to be still “evolving” in his support for marriage equality, but Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) — one of the most vocal proponents of LGBT rights in the Senate — believes that he may come out in favor of the policy before the 2012 election. In an interview with the Advocate’s Andrew Harmon, Gillibrand predicts that advocates could “get a very strong public statement” of support from Obama:
HARMON: So I’d have to pose the same question for President Obama. Do you think it’s possible that he could come out in support of marriage equality …
HARMON:…before the 2012 election?
GILLIBRAND: Definitely. He put the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in his State of the Union address. So there’s no reason why he can’t lean into marriage equality in a public speech or through some action he could do through the White House. I’d be thrilled if he decided to do that. He did take the step of not [defending] DOMA through his Department of Justice, which is a fantastic step because it was one that he was unwilling to do in “don’t ask, don’t tell.” So it shows a shift in his willingness to use the power of the White House — the power of the administration — to change public perception and to change policy.
So I think we could get a very strong public statement out of him.
During a separate event in Seattle on Tuesday, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) seemed to agree, telling a small group of activists, “This is just my intuition, but I think the President will be supportive of marriage in the states that offer it before the 2012 election.”
Nationally, a majority of Americans already favor marriage equality. According to NYT’s Nate Silver, “If support for gay marriage were to continue accelerating as fast as it has in the past two years, supporters would outnumber opponents roughly 56-40 in the general population by November 2012.”