Keller @ Large: Patrick, Obama Don’t Totally Agree In Same-Sex Marriage Debate

BOSTON (CBS) – Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday he’s proud of President Barack Obama’s leadership on the same-sex marriage issue, but he does not agree with everything the president said Wednesday.

It’s really a key question about the political future of same-sex marriage. Who will decide whether or not it becomes a nationally-recognized civil right?

The answers highlight a lingering schism on this issue between the president and even some of his most ardent supporters.

While President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage has made headlines, there has been less attention paid to something else he said: that the future of gay marriage should be decided “at the local level,” where “different states are coming to different conclusions.”

These include states like North Carolina, which this week became the 30th state to vote for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Since states’ rights became a rallying cry for segregationists like George Wallace during the Civil Rights movement, they’ve been a controversial topic, to say the least.

And for Obama ally Deval Patrick, who pushed hard to stop a public vote on same-sex marriage here in Massachusetts, the president’s contrary stance is problematic.

“I’m proud that the president has taken the position he has,” said Gov. Patrick. “I don’t think that a matter of civic right should be subject to the whims of the majority.”

But while gay-rights activist Arline Isaacson backs the governor on the states’ rights issue, she expects the president’s evolution is not finished.

“I think we’re gonna see (President Obama) be more out, if you will, about his support for same-sex marriage,” said Isaacson.

Isaacson suggests the real impact of the president’s decision may be felt if he wins re-election this fall, a victory that might embolden other politicians who support gay marriage but fear the political backlash to take to on the difficult task of pushing for legalization in their home states.

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