President Obama has sent mixed messages about gay marriage over the course of his presidency. As more states pass measures to legalize same sex marriage, and more states pass bans on gay marriage, it’s becoming more important for the President to clarify his stance.
Today, in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, President Obama said that he believes that gay couples should be allowed to get married.
“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.”
The entire Obama administration seems to be coming around to the idea of same sex marriages. Earlier this week Vice President Joe Biden said that he was absolutely comfortable with gay marriage. Education Secretary Arne Duncan also said that he believed that same sex couples should have the right to marry.
The Huffington Post notes that Obama’s comments on gay marriage will likely win him support from gay rights groups. But the president could see his numbers drop in key states like North Carolina.
Obama said that the debate over gay marriage doesn’t seem like a debate between Democrats and Republicans, but a debate between different generations. Obama said that he’s met several young Republicans who disagree with many of his policies, but agree that same sex marriage should be legalized.
“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational. 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.”
Several politicians have already come out in support of President Obama’s message. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said:
“This is a major turning point in the history of American civil rights. No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people – and I have no doubt that this will be no exception. The march of freedom that has sustained our country since the Revolution of 1776 continues, and no matter what setbacks may occur in a given state, freedom will triumph over fear and equality will prevail over exclusion. Today’s announcement is a testament to the President’s convictions, and it builds on the courageous stands that so many Americans have taken over the years on behalf of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, stretching back to the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.”
What do you think about President Obama’s comments on gay marriage?
Here’s a video of Obama’s statement on gay marriage.