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Obama says his views constantly evolving on same sex marriage

world Updated: Dec 23, 2010 14:34 IST

US President Barack Obama, who has signed into law the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy that barred gays from serving openly in the military, has said his views on same sex marriage are constantly evolving.

"With respect to the issue of whether gays and lesbians should be able to get married, I have spoken about this recently. As I've said, my feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this," Obama said at a White House news conference on Wednesday night.

"I have friends, I have people who work for me, who are in powerful, strong, long-lasting gay or lesbian unions. And they are extraordinary people, and this is something that means a lot to them and they care deeply about," he said.

At this point, "what I've said is, is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have. I think that's the right thing to do," he said.

But, he said, he recognises that from their perspective it is not enough and that it is something that is going to be continuously debated.

"I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward," said the US President, who has appointed the largest numbers of gays and lesbians in his administration.

"This is going to be an issue that is not unique to the military. This is an issue that extends to all of our society, and I think we're all going to have to have a conversation about it," Obama said.