Obama Supports N.Y. Vote … Stops Short of Endorsing Gay Marriage

President holds on to stance that same-sex nuptials should be left up to the states

President Barack Obama stopped short of endorsing gay marriage at a news conference on Wednesday, but said that the recent vote in New York to legalize same-sex marriage was the way the process should work.

“I think we’re moving in a direction of greater equality and I think that’s a good thing,” Obama told journalists in the East Room of the White House.

“The idea of equality, that principle, will win out,” he aded later.

Obama is in favor of civil unions, but said on the campiagn trail in 2008 that he does not support marriage between gay and lesbian couples. He recently has signalled that his stance may be softening, publicly saying that his views were “evolving.”

Of the historic New York vote, Obama said Wednesday, “I think what you are seeing is a profound recognition on the part of the American people that gays are our brothers, our sisters, our cousins and our friends, and they’ve got to be treated like every other American.”

Yet, that process, the President made clear, is one that should be left to the states.

“The president can’t dictate exactly how this process moves,” Obama said.