On the heels of Vice President Joe Biden‘s alleged rogue-going on gay marriage, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan‘s support for marriage equality, President Obama has come out in support of same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.
During the interview President Obama said “At a certain point I think it is important for me to affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
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.
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.”
The announcement completes a turnabout for the president, who has opposed gay marriage throughout his career in national politics.
FEBRUARY 1996: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” reads a typed, signed statement from then-Illinois state senate candidate Obama in response to a questionnaire by the Chicago LGBT newspaper “Outlines.”
OCTOBER 2004: “ What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman … What I believe, in my faith, is that a man and a woman, when they get married, are performing something before God, and it’s not simply the two persons who are meeting,” then-U.S. Senate candidate Obama said in an interview with WTTW Chicago public television.
OCTOBER 2010: “ I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage,” President Obama said during an interview with liberal bloggers.
DECEMBER 2010: “My feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this. At this point, what I’ve said is, is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have,” Obama said in response to a question from ABC’s Jake Tapper at a White House press conference.
JUNE 2011: ” The president has never favored same-sex marriage. He is against it. The country is evolving on this, and he is evolving on it,” Pfeiffer told progressive activists at the Net Roots Nation conference.
JUNE 2011: “I think it’s important for us to work through these issues because each community is going to be different, each state is going to be different,” Obama said when asked during a White House press conference about New York becoming the latest state to legalize same-sex marriage.
OCTOBER 2011: “I’m still working on it,” Obama said when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos whether he would move from supporting civil unions for same-sex couples to supporting gay marriage.
We shall see how this decision affects the polls this fall.