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White House Dodges Gay Marriage Debate

The campaign to force same-sex marriage onto the Democratic Party platform is heating up. Obama would rather keep discussion of his own flip-flops out of a convention meant to focus on Mitt Romney's.

Last updated on March 25, 2012, at 12:57 p.m. ET

Posted on March 25, 2012, at 12:57 p.m. ET

One of the first couples married in New York last summer. / Via

One of the first couples married in New York last summer.

The campaign for same-sex marriage, which had faded into the courts and the states in recent years, is returning to national politics as a fight inside the Democratic Party over whether Democrats should explicitly endorse gay marriage in their party's platform, which will be endorsed at Democratic National Convention.

This puts President Barack Obama — a past friend and nominal foe of gay marriage who has hinted he isn't terribly sincere about that — in a difficult position, particularly as he prepares to attack Mitt Romney over flip-flops and inauthenticity.

And his aides don't seem yet to have figured out how to square the circle.

George Stephanopolous asked Obama aide David Plouffe about the plank on "This Week" this morning, and Plouffe retreated into obscure questions of party process.

"We don't even have a platform committee yet, much less a platform," Plouffe said.

Activists took his answer as a sign that the White House is nervous about the issue.

"That non-answer David gave is a sure sign they see marriage equality as the emerging convention issue to manage," said Richard Socarides, a former Clinton aide and gay rights activist. "How they manage it will say a lot about Obama to party loyalists and insiders."