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Obama says his 'personal feelings' on gay marriage were always different than his 'position'

In an interview with BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith, President Obama sheds some light on David Axelrod's suggestion that Obama was "bullshitting" the nation with his gay marriage stance.

Obama tells Smith, "I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue." He explains that while he always thought same-sex couple should be given "the same rights" as everyone else, he also wanted to appease "religious sensitivities," so he supported civil unions instead of gay marriage:

Where my evolution took place was not in my attitude toward same-sex couples, it was in understanding the pain and the sense of stigma that was being placed on same-sex couples who are friends of mine, where they'd say, "You know what, if you're not calling it marriage, it doesn't feel like the same thing. Even if you gave me the same rights, the fact that I'm being treated differently or the love that we feel is somehow segmented off, that hurts." It was because of those conversations that I ended up shifting positions, that civil unions, in fact, were not sufficient rather than marriage. But I think the notion that somehow I was always in favor of marriage per se isn't quite accurate. [BuzzFeed]

Obama also discusses a variety of issues, including the Affordable Care Act and the death of Kayla Mueller, with Smith. To read the full interview, head over to BuzzFeed.