Obama stops short of endorsing gay marriage

By the Associated Press | June 29, 2011 | 2:00 PM EDT

President Barack Obama answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says gays are our friends and neighbors and should be treated like every other American.

But days after New York state legalized same-sex marriage, the president stopped short of endorsing gay nuptials himself.

He said that the decision in New York was "a good thing" because people debated their views and came to a decision. The president said other states and communities will come to their own conclusions.

The president, who supports civil unions, has said his views on gay marriage are "evolving." The White House is holding a reception later Wednesday for Gay Pride groups but Obama wasn't ready at a news conference to announce a new position.

The president defended his record, including repealing the prohibition on openly gay people serving in the military.