Obama says same-sex marriage should be legal
President Obama on Wednesday ended nearly two years of “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage by publicly endorsing it in a television interview, taking a definitive stand on one of the most contentious and politically charged social issues of the day.
“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 told ABC News in an interview that came after the president faced mounting pressure to clarify his position.
Mr. Obama said his views had changed over the years, in part because of prodding from friends who are gay and conversations with his wife and daughters.
“I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient,” Mr. Obama said. “I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that invokes very powerful traditions and religious beliefs.”
But he added that “I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally.”
The president stressed the tension he felt between the desire to treat people equally and respect for those whose religious beliefs lead them to oppose same-sex marriage.
“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,” he said. “And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president.”
In an election that is all but certain to turn on the slowly recovering economy and its persistently high jobless rate, Mr. Obama’s stand injects a volatile social issue into the campaign debate and puts him at even sharper odds with his presumptive Republican rival, Mitt Romney, who opposes same-sex marriage and favors an amendment to the United States Constitution to forbid it.