May 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After announcing his support for gay “marriage” earlier this month, President Obama appears to be putting the issue front and center in his campaign, reiterating his stance in a recently released campaign video, and in comments to the media and potential donors.

In an interview filmed Monday for ABC’s the View, Obama said that his current stance was influenced by gay family friends in “wonderful relationships” who told him he should support gay “marriage” and not just civil unions because “words matter.”

Obama added that the issue is “going to be a big contrast in the campaign,” since his opponent, Mitt Romney, is in favor of a constitutional amendment that would ban gay “marriage.”  His remarks echoed criticisms directed at the presumptive Republican nominee in a campaign video released last week which accused Romney of wanting to “take us back” rather than “move us forward.”

The president was elusive about his own stance on federal involvement in the issue, however,  dodging a direct question from co-host Barbara Walters on whether he would “fight for a federal bill” that would legally enshrine gay “marriage.”

In response, Obama merely noted his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and claimed that the issue had “historically been determined at the state level.” He also accused Romney of “federalizing the whole issue” by favoring DOMA.

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While the president’s federalist slant on the issue has dissatisfied some prominent gay rights supporters, his position has prompted praise, and in some cases, massive financial donations, from other corners of the movement.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, two up-coming fundraising events, one hosted by a prominent homosexual couple and the other by gay rights groups, are expected to bring in millions for the re-election campaign. The first was scheduled in the wake of the president’s announcement, and the second saw a dramatic increase in ticket sales because of it.

In widely reported comments, the president also called for the repeal of DOMA at a New York fundraiser co-hosted this week by the LGBT Leadership Council, gay singer Ricky Martin, and The Futuro Fund.

“We have never gone wrong when we expanded rights and responsibilities to everybody,” he told an audience of gay and lesbian supporters. “That doesn’t weaken families, that strengthens families.”

Romney has taken a restrained tone in response to the president’s championing of the issue, disappointing some conservatives.

“States are able to make decisions with regard to domestic partnership benefits, such as hospital visitation rights. Benefits and so forth of various kinds can be determined state by state. My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s my own preference,” he said at a recent press conference in Oklahoma. “I know other people have differing views, this is a very tender and sensitive topic as are many social issues but I have the same view that I’ve had since running for office.”