Does Donald Trump Support Civil Unions or Not?

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Donald Trump arrives at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) Photo: Jason Merritt/2011 Getty Images

Back in 1999, Donald Trump said he "hadn't given a lot of thought" to the issue of gay marriage, but as his allegedly sincere exploration of a presidential run rolls along, it almost seems as if he still hasn't. In his first remarks on the subject in mid-February, Trump somewhat hesitatingly told Fox News that he's "just not in favor of gay marriage," without elaborating. Last week in an interview with the influential Des Moines Register he took things a step further:

"They should not be able to marry," he said. But asked whether gay couples should be able access the same benefits as married couples, he said his "attitude on it has not been fully formed."

Given a second to think, Trump said on marriage and civil benefits, "As of this moment, I would say no and no."

That sounds as if Trump doesn't even support civil unions, although, clearly, he wasn't too sure about it, with his on-the-spot decision and use of "as of this moment" indicating that his position was liable to change. And it didn't take long for it to happen, according to Trump's interview last night with NY1:

Well, I have the same view as the president. This is one of things I happen to agree .... There'll be no discrimination, as far as I'm concerned, and you know you can really go far out on a limb and people say, 'Wait a minute, you can't even get together.' The fact is, no discrimination. But I am not in favor of same-sex marriage. And I've been very consistent on that, and that's the way I feel. But, that's also the way President Obama feels.

President Obama, publicly, has long supported civil unions. (Privately, he is almost definitely in favor of full-blown marriage and is waiting for the right moment to announce his change of heart). That means Trump either flip-flopped on civil unions last night, or he's just misinformed about Obama's position. Clearly, though, the man needs to spend some time figuring out where he stands on other issues besides "stand up to China" and "stand up to OPEC."