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President Barack Obama could face election-year jam on gay marriage

BY JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

PORTLAND, Maine -- President Barack Obama could be caught in an election-year bind on gay marriage, wedged between the pressure of supporters who want him to back same-sex marriage and the political perils of igniting an explosive social issue in the midst of the campaign.

Interviews with gay rights advocates and people close to Obama's campaign suggest it is no longer a matter of if, but when the president publicly voices his support. But Obama backers are split over whether that will happen before the November elections.

Gay marriage is already a big issue in a handful of states that have it on their ballots in November, including Maine, where Obama was headlining two fundraisers Friday. The president also headlined fundraisers Friday in Vermont, one of six states, plus the District of Columbia, where gay marriage is legal.

But neither in Vermont nor in Maine did Obama touch on the issue during his public remarks.

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