President Obama heads up to New York City to start out his week. The first thing on his agenda is speaking at the commencement for Barnard College. While there, he'll receive the school's top honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction. Another recipient of the medal is Evan Wolfson, a longtime advocate for gay rights and same-sex marriage. So the topic will likely find its way once again to the forefront of issues today. Later this evening, Obama will remain in the Big Apple long enough to raise more money for his campaign in two fundraisers. According to a democratic source, the first is targeting the LGBT community and will be hosted by singer Ricky Martin. There will be about 200 people in attendance and tickets start out at $5000. The second event is at a private residence with about 60 people attending. Tickets for that dinner are the election standard $35,800.
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(CNN) – As a ballot initiative to ban same sex-marriage comes to a vote in North Carolina this week, Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday he was "absolutely comfortable" with the idea of same-gender marriage.
"I just think that the good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about, it is a simple proposition: Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person who love?" Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
While he did not touch on the North Carolina initiative, his comments were consistent with his message on the controversial issue in general. He added, however, that it's the president, not he, who sets the administration's policy.
President Obama is now supporting the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the ban on same sex marriage President Clinton signed into law in 1996.
"He is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act ... which would take DOMA off the books once and for all," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at yesterday's briefing. "This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples."
The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would erase DOMA's definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the proposal today - the first, I'm told, on repealing DOMA.
It may seem like an incremental move but one Democratic source I spoke with actually described it as "momentous" because the president has taken a nuanced view on DOMA, calling it "unconstitutional" (as recently as June) but never outright calling for its repeal.