President Obama may not be planning to publicly embrace same-sex marriage before the election, but he is touting his accomplishments on behalf of the gay community on his campaign website.
A timeline, highlighted in rainbow colors, outlines his administration's work on issues that benefit gay rights in some form or fashion. It begins in June of 2009 after he ordered the federal government to extend limited benefits to the partners of homosexual federal employees. It ends with him denouncing the North Carolina marriage amendment in early March.
Obama has been under steady pressure from the gay community for not signing an executive order mandating that firms working on federal contracts give full rights to same-sex couples. Several gay activists publically criticized him for the decision when his staff delivered the news to them last week.
Although the president has denounced state ballot initiatives and amendments that would define marriage as between a man and a woman, he has not thrown his full support behind same-sex marriage for fear of losing independent voters crucial to his reelection. Even though many gay supporters are upset about this, no major protests have waged.
Obama's campaign brought attention to the president's support for gay issues with an April 20 tweet that read, "What three years of progress for the LGBT community looks like," followed by a link listing the accomplishments.
"Together, we've fought for equal rights for LGBT Americans – and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is just one example of the progress we've achieved since President Obama took office. Take a look at the timeline below, then share it with your friends," reads a statement on the campaign website.
Defenders of traditional marriage, such as Dr. Michael Brown, describe the timeline as an effort to woo a voting bloc without having to suffer the political fallout from an official endorsement of same-sex marriage.
"President Obama has made his views on this issue clear in a number of ways," said Brown, the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America, earlier this month.
"He has directed his administration to not defend the Defense of Marriage Act, he pushed for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell in the military, and he has opposed efforts in different states to pass amendments that uphold male-female marriage as being 'discriminatory.' So in a nutshell is he right – he supports gay rights."