Via Breitbart.com and BuzzFeed, which had this almost a month ago. Note the emphasis here on faith as the bedrock of his opposition. Nothing unusual about a believer changing his or her mind about gay marriage; according to last week’s Pew poll, it’s happened quite a lot since 2004. But in order to put O in that category, you have to believe that he really did change his mind. Do you? Does anyone? Even a lefty outlet like Slate is scoffing at the idea. If in fact Obama has always been a true blue fan of legalizing gay marriage then what you’re watching here is him lying, straight up, not only about his position on SSM but about the importance of his religious beliefs. I’m surprised more religious Democrats haven’t gone after him for that today. Instead you get tepid statements like this:

The evangelical pastor who President Barack Obama calls his spiritual adviser says he’s disappointed in the president’s decision to endorse same-sex marriage…

Hunter says he told the president he disagreed with his interpretation of what the Bible says about marriage. Hunter says the president reassured him he would protect the religious freedom of churches who oppose gay marriage.

Hunter says the announcement makes it harder for him to support Obama, but he will continue to do so.

That’s precisely the reaction they’re counting on from the left’s few socially conservative constituencies, including/especially black voters who helped push through North Carolina’s amendment last night. More from the AP about Maryland’s looming referendum on SSM:

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville and a staunch gay marriage opponent, said he would not urge his congregation to vote against Obama.

“I think some people will leave Mr. Obama altogether, but our view will be, this is about marriage. I’m not going to try to make President Obama the issue,” Jackson said.

The White House gambled that if O finally ‘fessed up, enthusiasm among his base would skyrocket, opposition from Democratic critics would be half-hearted, and swing voters probably won’t care that much within the broader context of an election about jobs and the economy. The big question marks are seniors, with whom Dems already have problems, and the offsetting spike in enthusiasm for Romney that this’ll cause among Republican social conservatives who oppose O’s “evolution” on this issue. I think Team Hopenchange pegged their side’s reaction just right. We’ll see about those other groups.

Now, here’s a homework assignment for White House reporters. At 2:08 here, the moderator asks a good question: Does O think marriage is a civil right and, if so, isn’t he endorsing “separate but equal” by backing civil unions but not gay marriage? Obama’s response is that it’s not a civil right but rather one of those things that “express a community’s concern in regard for a particular institution.” I don’t know what that means or how he’s drawing that distinction. The same could theoretically be said about segregating public-school classrooms. That’s a practice that “expresses a community’s concern in regard for a particular institution” — and yet also a quintessential matter of civil rights. Sure would be nice if the next WH correspondent who gets a shot at questioning him will ask whether he still feels this way about marriage as a right and what on earth his answer here is supposed to mean.

Update: Annnnnnnnd here we go. Fresh in the inbox:

Friend —

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I hope you’ll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:

http://my.barackobama.com/Marriage

I’ve always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I’ve talked to friends and family about this. I’ve thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, I’ve gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I’ve come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

If you agree, you can stand up with me here.

Thank you,

Barack