Caroline Kennedy urges Obama to back gay marriage

Author: Catalina Camia
Publication: USA Today
Publication Date: May 12th, 2011

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 Caroline Kennedy has joined civil rights activists, celebrities and athletes in a national campaign urging President Obama to support same-sex marriage.

Kennedy, who gave Obama a crucial endorsement in the 2008 campaign and helped him vet running mates, became the 100,000th signer of a letter by the Freedom to Marry advocacy organization urging the president to say "I do" to gay marriage.

"Falling in love, getting married and building a family is part of the American dream," Kennedy said. "I believe that all Americans, including committed gay and lesbian couples, should have the opportunity to pursue that dream."

The Obama administration decided in February to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages. It is a huge shift for Obama, who is opposed to gay marriage but says his own views are "evolving.

An eclectic group of people -- from civil rights leader Julian Bond to actress Anne Hathaway and TV host Ellen DeGeneres -- has signed onto the letter. It asks Obama "for your leadership on ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage" and asks him to provide "clarity" on where he stands.