Nationwide and in presidential battlegrounds, the economy is certainly voters' top issue. A recent Gallup poll on the most important problems facing the nation showed gay rights cited by 1 percent or less, while 72 percent noted the economy.
With the economy vastly eclipsing other issues, even leaders in the fight against gay marriage see only minor impact in key states from Obama's pronouncement.
"Those who care about the issue, it perks up their ears up," said Iowa Republican Chuck Laudner, who fought efforts to legalize gay marriage in Iowa. "But it's not a game changer. It's never going to penetrate the price of gas."
Still, Obama's announcement only turned up the heat on an issue that long had been percolating in key states targeted by both the president and Romney.
None of the states expected to be hard-fought through Nov. 6 has a gay-marriage referendum on the November ballot, but nearly all have wrestled with the issue since the last presidential election.
This week, the issue is at center stage in Colorado, where the Democratic governor called the Legislature back into session this week to address a proposal to allow marriage benefits to same-sex couples. That state banned gay marriage in 2006.
In Iowa, opponents of gay marriage, who rallied in 2010 to oust three state Supreme Court judges over a gay marriage ruling, are focused on another judge facing retention and a state senator who has blocked a constitutional amendment.
Earlier this year, New Hampshire's Republican-controlled legislature failed to repeal the state law allowing gay marriage.
Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2008.
Voters in Minnesota — considered a Democratic-leaning state where many expect Obama will win — will weigh in November a referendum to bolster the state's statutory ban on gay marriage with a constitutional amendment. It could become a more competitive state if gay-rights opponents use Obama's position to rally conservatives. The same could happen in Democratic-tilting Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania if the issue gains steam.
Norma Love in New Hampshire, Bob Lewis in Virginia, Gary Robertson in North Carolina, Julie Carr Smyth and Dan Sewell in Ohio, Sandra Chereb in Nevada and Ivan Moreno in Colorado contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.