Yesterday President Obama gave his public support to legislation sponsored by Sen. Diane Feinstein that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defines marriage as a union between one-man and one-woman.
Currently federal law, and almost all state law, says a person cannot not marry someone who is a minor, already married, a close relative, or of the same gender. Feinstein's bill, being called the Respect for Marriage Act, would remove the gender limitation but allow the other restrictions on marriage recognition to remain in place.
This position further confuses the President's position on the issue of marriage. During his 2008 campaign, the President said he did not support same-sex "marriage". Since then he has called the federal DOMA unconstitutional and was also instrumental in the repeal of the militaries' "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
The President also opposed Prop 8 in California while still maintaining his position that he opposed same-sex "marriage".
Regardless, during an election in which most of the attention will be given to a weak economy and high employment, these developments all but guarantees that cultural issues like marriage will be a critical voting issue in the 2012 Presidential election.