By Cliff Dunn
“Personally, I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” -President Barack Obama, May 9, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama made history on Wednesday, saying he “personally affirms” his support for marriage equality for all Americans. “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 said.
During an interview with ABC reporter Robin Roberts (which aired in full this morning on “Good Morning America”), Obama gave LGBT Americans the nod they had been waiting for after four years of coy winks concerning his “evolving” views on full marriage rights for every citizen.
The president, invoking the images of same-sex families and households possessing the same goals and concerns as any straight family unit, spoke of his evolution from a supporter of civil unions to a history-making proponent of full marital rights.
The president’s comments came during a week that was filled with good news for LGBT Americans. On Sunday, during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Vice President Joe Biden said that he is “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage, remarks that were followed on Monday by Secretary of Education Secretary Arne Duncan offering ‘his own “public” support on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” President Obama offered. “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 [the president and Mrs. Obama’s daughters], 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.”
By publically announcing his support, Obama was formalizing a process that has already begun, with the rollback of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), and the Justice Department ending its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman—in court. Analysts say that the president is taking some political risk in his overt support for same-sex marriage. In 2008, his presidential campaign won North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes by a 0.3 percent margin of victory. On Tuesday, the pivotal swing state’s voters overwhelmingly—61 to 39 percent—passed legislation which enshrines the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman in the state constitution. For Obama, it will be a long road until November.WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama made history on Wednesday, saying he “personally affirms” his support for marriage equality for all Americans.