President Barack Obama said Wednesday he supported gay marriage, reversing his position on a controversial social issue just six months before the November election and adopting a stance fraught with uncertain political implications.
• President Obama gave an interview to ABC News, declaring: “I think same sex couples should be able to get married”
• The president’s comment was greeted with a surge of enthusiasm among gay rights groups and supporters
• Obama’s change of heart came after vice president Joe Biden’s remarks supporting gay marriage at the weekend
• Activists in North Carolina celebrated the decision but said it would have made no difference to Tuesday’s crushing victory for an amendment to the state’s constitution barring same-sex marriage
• Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reiterated his opposition to gay marriage, saying: “I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.” Earlier in the day Romney said he might support “domestic partnerships benefits”
• Democratic party supporters reported a rush of donations after the president’s comments were made public
President Obama – Gay Marriage: ABC NEWS VIDEO
In 2004, Obama Struggled to Explain Gay Marriage Views : Video
The announcement completes a turnabout for the president, who has opposed gay marriage throughout his career in national politics. In 1996, as a state Senate candidate, he indicated support for gay marriage in a questionnaire, but Obama aides later disavowed it and said it did not reflect the candidate’s position.
In 2004, as a candidate for the US Senate, he cited his own religion in framing his views: “I’m a Christian. I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”
He maintained that position through his 2008 presidential campaign, and through his term as president, until today.
An email from President Obama—subject line: “Marriage.”
President Obama sent this message to supporters today:
Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:
I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
I hope you’ll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality.
I’ve always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.
But over the course of several years I’ve talked to friends and family about this. I’ve thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, I’ve gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.
What I’ve come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.
Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently.
So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.
If you agree, you can stand up with me here.