Obama interview: “I think same sex couples should be able to get married”

Snippets from the ABC-Blog interview transcript (which I haven’t yet found in full online):

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.

It’s interesting, some of this is also generational. 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, sexual orientation, that they 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.

This is something that, you know, [Michelle and I have] talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and, hopefully, the better I’ll be as president.

This open advocacy from the President (and Vice-President Biden’s matter-of-fact support) is hugely important. I know for many of us it’s a “Finally!” moment, and that the reluctance to come out for marriage equality has been one of many progressive disappointments with Obama’s moderate centrism generally, but this is a big step for social justice through framing same-sex couples as having fully equal civil rights.

That’s why many people are celebrating with .gifs.



Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, relationships, social justice

Tags: , ,

15 replies

  1. Barry has finally evolved – just in time for Nov 2012…
    I’m just not sure how happy people should be – where was this in 2009 when the LGBT support that was so helpful in ’08 was still warm?

    • Is there anyone who isn’t cynical about his timing on this? Doubtful. However, he’s done it – a US President has finally stepped up for a clear statement of basic decency on same-sex-attracted citizens as fully equal before the law.
      Be cynical on the timing as much as you like – that it’s done still matters. A lot.

      • A Shaker made this point, and it’s a good one:

        Anitanola | Today 03:01 PM
        What this announcement being made now says to me is that the polls and trial balloons gave unequivocal indications that doing this would help rather than hurt his reelection chances and, when you think about it, that is the best news of all. As a country, we are already behind this and the backward bunch that are not are going to hear a lot of “grow up, already, and face reality!”
        I’m thrilled that he did this now. I’m overjoyed and ecstatic because he didn’t do it to make some people in North Carolina feel better or to throw a bone to his long suffering LGBT supporters, he did it because it is politically expedient to say publicly what, quite probably, he always has believed. The fact that it IS politically expedient is the best part of this good news.

        Just going to highlight that: The fact that it IS politically expedient is the best part of this good news.

  2. The fact that it IS politically expedient is the best part of this good news.

    Absolutely. He puts it firmly back on the States to update their laws and hopefully makes it easier for them to do it as well.

    • I don’t have a quote or direct source on this to share, but I’ve read commentary that the Obama administration has indicated an intention to dismantle what’s left of any Federal DOMA legislation on the grounds that it’s unconstitutional, which will apparently mean that any State attempts to have their own DOMA laws will be ultimately unsuccessful as they will also eventually be ruled unconstitutional.
      Anybody know more/able to explain it better?

      • Pam Spaulding was not much impressed:

        Even as one part of me celebrates the end of the torture, as I said earlier, it smarts sitting here in NC where his evolution is cold comfort for those of us now living under the thumb of a marriage discrimination amendment.

        Being jerked around, constantly seen as an ATM, and the man can’t even state the obvious, and his surrogates continue this tap dance of stupidity over what is or isn’t an affirmation that the President believes in full equality for gay and lesbian couples. His own campaign couldn’t even lift a digital finger to tell people to vote against discrimination here in NC. The President can’t even sign an executive order barring employment discrimination against LGBTs in federal contracts.

        Being able to come out of the closet and not be fired is eons more important sitting here in NC than the right to marry, but I’m sure that POV and emotional drain of this won’t carry the day among most of my fellow LGBTs celebrating the President’s statement.

  3. That certainly puts it in perspective. So much we take for granted.

  4. Mixed Emotions About POTUS Marriage Announcement
    from TransGriot (Monica Roberts)

    The next president will have the opportunity to possibly select three Supreme Court justices.
    Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy were selected by Ronald Reagan, and Clinton appointee Ruth Bader Ginsburg is hinting at retirement from the SCOTUS.
    We have 50 federal judiciary seats open because the GOP is playing the massive resistance game and hoping y’all fall for the okey doke and elect Willard to the presidency so he can start filling them with federal judges selected by Robert Bork
    So yes, GLBT community, it IS about the federal judiciary. When you can’t get legislation through a logjammed Congress, the court system is the next place to redress those grievances we have.
    As we trans people have discovered when we’ve gone to federal court lately, the president who appoints the people who sit in these judicial seats in an era of hyper partisanship matters.

  5. Being from North Carolina (I just moved to Oz two months ago) the announcement tells me two things:
    1. Yes, it is expedient. Because he is going to have to mobilise the LGBT support he had in 08 in order to win again.
    2. The Dems don’t like the way things are going this far out from November.
    I understand the significance of a POTUS making the statement. But this smacks of desperation.

    • Desperation? Or just wanting to quash the media cycle slavering over what Joe Biden said last week? And point (deniably) to what he might possibly just maybe feel able to do in his second term, when re-election is no longer a consideration?
      I’m not hanging my hopes all that high, but there’s a bubbling of cautious optimism that I just can’t totally suppress.

  6. “Or just wanting to quash the media cycle slavering over what Joe Biden said last week?”
    Gosh. What Barry said might not be headlines in Australia, but it’s headlines in the US.

  7. MyNigel was in the US last week and thinks pretty much what you said TT. He said it was all about the Republican race on the news and Obama wasn’t even on the radar. This statement, with the lead in by Biden, gets him back in the headlines which is what you want in an election year.

    • Again being somewhat cynical about the media cycle management aspect going on here, supporting marriage equality is almost the perfect circuit-breaker to disrupt the current Republican media message. The only people likely to be alienated by it are people who were never going to vote Obama anyway, and we already know the sort of bigotry that the loudest Repukes are going to say, and the more they say it the scarier they look to some folks who may have been thinking about not turning out for the Dems this year.
      Now that Biden and Obama are on the record about support in principle, they can respond to any further questions on this topic from the media with “well you know what I/we think about same sex marriage, now how about we talk some other policy matters like X/Y/Z?”
      For the LOLZ: Bristol Palin (or her ghostwriter at least) scolds POTUS for listening to his children.

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