It's just that the connotations changed over time, making "marriage" somehow a religious thing, with "civil union" being the same thing in practice - minus the religious connotations.
Thus, he switched his support for what seemed like a viable option. A bird in hand now.
Later years offered greater clarity - and a shift from 1996. Civil unions? Yes. Gay marriage? No.
As Obama sought a U.S. Senate seat in 2004, he told the Windy City Times, "I am a fierce supporter of domestic-partnership and civil-union laws.
I am not a supporter of gay marriage as it has been thrown about, primarily just as a strategic issue.
I think that marriage, in the minds of a lot of voters, has a religious connotation.
He described his hesitation to endorse same-sex marriage as strategic and political.
What I'm saying is that strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed. â¦
I think that to the extent that we can get the rights, I'm less concerned about the name. â¦
Republicans are going to use a particular language that has all sorts of connotations in the broader culture as a wedge issue, to prevent us moving forward, in securing those rights, then I don't want to play their game.
Guy is a politician and a government official.
It's his job to find a compromise and push a consensus in the best interest of the citizens.