Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal

President Obama

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he supports gay marriage, reversing his position on a controversial social issue just six months before the November election and adopting a stance fraught with political implications.
Mr. Obama had been under intense pressure this week to lay out a clear stance on gay marriage after several of his top advisers endorsed it. Mr. Obama said he “personally” believes gays and lesbians should have the right to marry, a position he came to after several years of talking to friends and family and thinking about gay members of the military and of his staff who are raising children together in monogamous relationships.
“I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue. I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts. “At a certain point, I just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think that same sex couples should be able to get married.”
Mr. Obama was against same-sex marriage as a candidate in 2008, but supported civil unions. In the fall of 2010, he said his views on gay marriage were “evolving,” a stance that had widely been interpreted as moving toward an endorsement. The president had been asked numerous times afterward whether his position had changed. Each time he deflected the question and pointed to his record on other gay rights issues.
On Wednesday, he said, “I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient.”
“And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word ‘marriage’ was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth,” he said.
Mr. Obama’s politically cautious stance had become untenable in recent days, in no small part because of the pro-gay marriage positions taken by Vice President Joe Biden and members of Mr. Obama’s own cabinet.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in an MSNBC interview on Monday morning that he supports gay marriage.
Mr. Obama’s Wednesday announcement comes a day after voters in North Carolina, the state hosting the Democratic National Convention this fall and that the president hopes to win in November, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Some 30 states have adopted gay-marriage bans, even though polls show views on the issue are shifting faster than for any other hot-button social issue.



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