On the same day President Obama signed legislation repealing "don't ask, don't tell" the law that allowed gays to serve in the military without declaring their sexual preference, the president hinted he may be changing his mind about gay marriage in the United States.
"With respect to the issue of whether gays and lesbians should be able to get married, I've spoken about this recently... My feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this," Obama said at a press conference at the White House Thursday, shortly before leaving Washington for his vacation in Hawaii.
"At this point, what I've said is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have and I think that's the right thing to do. But, I recognize that from their perspective that's not enough. And I think this is something we're going to continue to debate and I personally am going to wrestle with going forward."
With the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" finally accomplished in the lame-duck Congress, and hailed by gay and lesbian groups, the issue of gay marriage could come front and center again as an issue, perhaps even a 2012 presidential issue as it did during the 2008 campaign.
And, while the White House is celebrating the legislative victory on "don't ask, don't tell" Obama said he knew the issue of gay marriage would be a hot topic in the near future.
"This is going to be an issue that is not unique to the military. This is an issue that extends to all of our society and I think we're all going to have to have a conversation about it."