Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first sitting president in history to announce his support for same-sex 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,” Mr. Obama said. Obama told ABC news during a sit-down interview.
The hot-button issue made headlines earlier this week when North Carolina passed an amendment that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The president said he was disappointed with the state's decision, but had yet to publically announce his support for it. With political pressure intensified, the White House quickly scheduled the sit-down interview.
"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," he said.
Once a proponent of civil-unions, the president said that much of his decision to endorse the legalization of same-sex marriage came from coversations with his family.
“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” he went on to say. “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.”
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