Where the presidential candidates stand on the issues

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GAY RIGHTS
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GAY RIGHTS
Obama: Supports legal recognition of same-sex marriage, a matter decided by states. Opposed that recognition in 2008 presidential campaign and in 2004 Senate campaign, while supporting the extension of legal rights and benefits to same-sex couples in civil unions. Achieved repeal of the military ban on openly gay members. Has not achieved repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages and affirms the right of states to refuse to recognize such marriages. Administration has ceased defending the law in court but it remains on the books.

Romney: Opposes legal recognition of same-sex marriage and says it should be banned with a constitutional amendment, not left to states. "Marriage is not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state." Also opposes civil unions "if they are identical to marriage other than by name," but says states should be left to decide what rights and benefits should be allowed under those unions. Says certain domestic partnership benefits — largely unspecified — as well as hospital visitation rights are appropriate but "others are not." Says he would not seek to restore the ban on openly gay military members.

In this June 24, 2012, photo provided by Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx WNBA basketball guard and Olympic gold medalist, Augustus, right, and fiancee LaTaya Varner, left, participate as co-Grand Marshals in the Twin Cities Gay Pride Parade in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Courtesy Seimone Augustus)