“It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
10 May 2012
President Obama came out in favor of gay marriage for the first time on Wednesday, saying that he thought it was important for him to “go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
The president delivered the news in a sit-down interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts that came one day after North Carolina became the 30th state in the nation to approve a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.
“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.
With his Wednesday announcement, the president reversed his longstanding position on the issue. It came on the heels of his own vice president and education secretary saying they were in favor of gay marriage.
According to an ABC blog post, he further described his thought process as an “evolution” that progressed as he discussed the issue with staff members, gay and lesbian service members and his own family. He said he thinks Americans are growing increasingly comfortable with the concept of gay marriage and cited his own daughters’ views on the matter.
“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” he said. “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.”
A new poll released this week found that 50 percent of Americans support allowing gays and lesbians to wed, while 48 percent opposite it. The issue is particularly polarizing along party lines with 65 percent of Democrats supporting legalizing same-sex marriage, compared with only 22 percent of Republicans who do so.