Over the weekend, Vice President Joe Biden publicly voiced his support of same-sex marriage. One day later, Education Secretary Arne Duncan (a member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet) also publicly endorsed same-sex marriage. Today, President Obama himself publicly voices his support of same-sex marriage. In an interview that will air in full on ABC News (both tonight and tomorrow on Good Morning America), President Obama tells the world that he is fully in support of marriage equality. Click below to read some excerpts and watch video from his upcoming interview.
President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president. In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this place, based on conversations with his own staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and conversations with his wife and own daughters. “I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Roberts, in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday. Excerpts of the interview will air tonight on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.” The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. But he said he’s confident that more Americans will grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters’ comfort with the concept. “It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president continued. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.” Roberts asked the president if First Lady Michelle Obama was involved in this decision. Obama said she was, and he talked specifically about his own faith in responding. “This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.”
This is a very momentous day … one that I knew would come. Before President Obama was president, he was publicly in support of same-sex marriage. Making a run for the presidency, as the first African-American man to do so, complicated his ability to voice that support. Right or wrong, I completely understood his position. Did I like it? No. But I understood that in politics, you sometimes have to make tough choices in the immediate to ensure a more successful bigger picture. Since Obama became our president, his administration has worked slowly but VERY surely for gay rights here in the US. The repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that forbade gays and lesbians from serving in the US armed forces was a major step forward in the push for gay rights. Today, President Obama’s public support of same-sex marriage is another push forward. I know many people may criticize him for not speaking out sooner (especially in light of the travesty that occurred in North Carolina yesterday when that state voted to amend its constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage) but I absolutely applaud him for taking this public stance now. The 2012 Presidential election is a very important one. President Obama MUST be reelected to ensure that our country moves FORWARD toward ensuring equal treatment of all US citizens. Now that we know where the President stands on this issue, will you stand with him to help ensure that liberty and justice is afforded to all Americans? I know I will. In fact … I say, I do.