President Obama today became the first sitting U.S. president to endorse the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. In an interview taped earlier this afternoon, he told ABC News’ Robin Roberts:
“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.”
While in office, Obama and his administration have taken critical strides toward LGBT equality by refusing to defend the discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in court and pushing Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and reaffirming support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
In response to Obama’s historic announcement today, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said:
“President Obama is doing the right thing and showing leadership by recognizing that lesbians and gays should be treated as equal citizens. The freedom to marry whomever we love and want to share our life with is fundamental to who we are and what we stand for as a country. The fight for fairness and equal treatment under the law for all Americans took a critical step forward today.”
Last year, for the first time, a majority of Americans expressed their support for marriage for same sex couples.
Currently, six states plus D.C. allow same-sex couples to marry, three more respect marriages of same-sex couples validly performed in other states, nine provide civil unions or comprehensive domestic partnerships, and three more have more limited domestic partnership systems. That’s 20 states plus D.C. that provide some significant state-level relationship protections, and those states are home to 130 million people. Further, as many as four more states could extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples by the end of the year.
In the news
New York Times: Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal
USA Today: Obama: Same sex marriage should be legal
Washington Post: Obama endorses same-sex marriage
Think Progress: BREAKING: Obama Embraces Marriage Equality
The Washington Blade: HISTORIC: Obama endorses marriage equality