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Cuomo lauds Obama support of gay marriage

President Barack Obama and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

President Barack Obama and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany. (May 8, 2012) Credit: AP

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who spearheaded New York's legalization of same-sex marriages last year, said Tuesday that President Obama's support is a "major advancement" for marriage equality and will "accelerate" the public's evolution on the issue.

Cuomo said he didn't know whether Obama's announcement that he has changed his view and now supports gay marriage would help or hurt his fellow Democrat's re-election chances this fall.

But the governor said Obama's announcement "will resonate all across the nation."

"The fact that the president of the United States is saying this will cause people around the country to say, 'Let me think about this again,' " said Cuomo. "Public opinion was already changing, but I think the president saying this today will accelerate that re-evaluation."

Cuomo himself once opposed same-sex marriage. But in 2011, he led a forceful campaign to get New York to become the most populous stay to allow it. He said his positions "evolved" over time.

"Consistency is nice, but some times evolution is smarter," the governor said.

Cuomo not only said he didn't think gay marriage support would become a litmus test for Democrats but also that he wasn't sure if it "there's any political impact" for 2012.

That he could express that just eight years after same-sex marriage arguably tilted the 2004 presidential election in Republicans' favor is saying something about the issue, Cuomo acknowledged.

"Eight years ago, you could not have passed marriage equality in this state. Three years ago, you didn't pass marriage equality in this state," the governor said, referring a failed attempt in 2009. "So there is no question the American people are evolving on this issue."

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