In this combo made from file photos, President Barack Obama,...

In this combo made from file photos, President Barack Obama, left, speaks at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, left (April 25, 2012) and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop in Wilmington, Del. (April 10, 2012.) Credit: AP

If you don't like it, it's "homosexual marriage." If you do, it's "marriage equality."

As in the battle between "right to life" and "pro-choice," you tell me which words you use. Then I'll tell you which side you're on.

What a difference a week can make!

Little more than a week ago, same-sex marriage, to use a down-the-middle term, was puttering along as a second-tier issue this political year.

Gay activists and Christian evangelicals seemed interested. North Carolina had a constitutional vote coming up. But as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney found fresh new ways to pound each other every morning, boy-boy and girl-girl weddings were off to the side somewhere.

Then, bang-bang-bang-bang. Romney's gay foreign-policy spokesman was bum-rushed off the campaign. Joe Biden told "Meet the Press" he's "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex marriage. North Carolinians inserted a ban on the practice in their state constitution. And Obama, who'd been gradually "evolving" in the legalize-it direction, finally declared himself an official gay-marriage Darwinian.

"Same-sex couples should be able to get married," he declared.

The change didn't come quickly. The shift is far from complete. As North Carolina showed, strong personal opposition still lingers out there.

But the issue is suddenly front and center of the presidential campaign. Romney, also battling a prep-school gay-bullying claim, is the one trying to change the topic now. Political and religious leaders seem increasingly open to the basic idea. And the national polls all say the strongest momentum is heading same-sex marriage's way.

Busy week.


Here come the brides


Wedding belles


Something old, something very new

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: If not for $4.5 million in state tax credits and a 16-year Nassau County property-tax break, would Celestial Seasonings honcho Irwin Simon really have abandoned LI for New Jersey or Colorado? Now we'll never know . . . Loser! Opportunist! Will the NY-1 congressional race be LI's ugliest? Randy Altschuler and George Demos, hoping to unseat Tim Bishop, are getting a good, mean start . . . Some real estate agents are smiling at May's 16-percent hike in LI home sales over May 2011. But isn't this number just as meaningful? The 4.9-percent drop in homes on the market, from 22,827 to 21,741?

THE NEWS IN SONG: "Legalize Our Love" by Timbuk 3, Passion's our only crime.


Moms shouldn't have to work on Mother's Day. But often, they do -- in hospitals, restaurants, police and fire departments and other seven-day job sites. Caterer Butch Yamali, carrying on a tradition from his dad's Queens deli, is serving a free lunch at noon on Monday to all moms who had to work on their special day. No reservations needed, Mom. Just show up hungry at Yamali's Coral House, 70 Milburn Ave. in Baldwin. "I understand," he said. "Some moms have to work even on holidays. But they shouldn't have to go unrecognized."


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