Obama says same-sex couples should be able to marry


Obama: "Same sex couples should be able to get married"

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US President Barack Obama has ended months of hedging on the issue of gay marriage by saying he thinks same-sex couples should be able to wed.

He has become the first sitting US president to back gay marriage.

Mitt Romney, the Republican who is set to challenge Mr Obama for the White House in November's elections, promptly said he was against gay marriage.

In recent days, Vice-President Joe Biden and cabinet member Arne Duncan had expressed support for gay unions.

A Gallup poll on Tuesday suggested that 50% of Americans were in favour of legalising gay marriage - a slightly lower proportion than last year - while 48% said they would oppose such a move.

President Barack Obama has been forced out of the closet. Few doubted that he was in favour of gay marriage but "don't ask, don't tell" had worked well enough up until now.

The media didn't ask him. And he certainly wasn't going to tell.

I am told his campaign staff really thought they could get away with not touching this hot button issue, and go through until election night leaving his views draped with hazy protestations about the ongoing "evolution" of his views.

I have trouble believing that they thought he could avoid the question until November. But there is no doubt that the rapid evolution of his views into the limelight was not intelligent design.

Unless you see Vice-President Joe Biden as the creator of presidential frankness.

The interview with ABC News was apparently hastily arranged as Mr Obama came under mounting pressure to clarify his position on the issue.

"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.

He pointed to his administration's commitment to increasing rights for gay citizens. He cited the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and said his administration had dropped support for the Defense of Marriage Act.

"I've stood on the side of broader equality for the LGBT community. I hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient," Mr Obama said.

He said he had changed his views after seeing gay members of his own staff who were in "incredibly committed monogamous relationships", and service personnel who felt constrained by not being able to wed.

Mr Obama also said discussions with his own family had helped the "evolution" of his views on the issue.

Romney: Position on marriage is the same position I had as governor

"There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and... Malia and Sasha, it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently," Mr Obama said.

"It doesn't make sense to them and frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective."

In 2010, Mr Obama said his views on the issue were "evolving", a stance that had frustrated gay rights supporters and donors.

His comments aired on Wednesday come a day after North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment effectively banning same-sex marriage or civil unions.

US gay marriage laws

A same-sex couple marry in San Francisco in June 2008
  • Same-sex marriage has been passed in New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Washington DC, Connecticut, Maryland and Washington
  • Thirty-one US states have banned same-sex marriage through law or constitutional amendment

The Obama campaign had opposed that measure, which was passed with 61% in favour and 39% against.

In the US, 31 states have passed constitutional amendments or legislation against same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, Mr Romney set the stage for an election year clash over the polarising social issue by saying he was against gay marriage.

The former Massachusetts governor told a Fox News affiliate: "I do not favour marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favour civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name.

"My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not."


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  • Comment number 520.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 519.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 518.

    Of course... it's election time again! I guess Obama will soon be telling everyone that he is going to close Guantanamo Bay, stop the bombing the sovereign countries belonging brown people who own lots of the black stuff and will now (of course) allow peaceful fellow Americans their right to protest... DREAM ON!

  • rate this

    Comment number 517.

    I support civil unions and rights for gays --but not marriage. I believe in traditional marriage only (man & woman). Im not religious though.

    Gay marriage is unnatural. But the liberal media in America (CNN, MSNBC, ABC, MTV) is constantly promoting homosexuality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 516.

    503. Scumbagmillionaire

    Firstly, and this is very important; man wrote the bible. Many elders in your faith will confirm this if you care to ask them. Only the uneducated truely believe that the bible fell from the sky.

    Secondly what sort of nasty, unloving, evil god would punish us for what our ancesters happen to have done "wrong"? Also why are you worshipping this vile god?

  • rate this

    Comment number 515.

    Why are homosexuals obsessed with altering the meaning of words? They ruined 'gay' now they are after 'marriage'. Why are the so ashamed of what they are that they need to hide it behind words that have proper unassociated with them, meanings? The could at least make up their own new words like some washing powder brands do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 514.

    A485. fromdtoc

    Alternatively the separation of Church and state means that those people who believe marriage is between a man and woman should only marry the opposite sex and those that couldn't give a hoot can marry whom ever they want
    God is a condiment in marriage as in life.
    Have god don't have God up to you.
    If that were not true then Atheist could not marry.

  • Comment number 513.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 512.

    506. Ady: It is interesting how often it turns out that someone who is intolerant about others turns out to be projecting an insecurity about their own situation. Thanks for your honesty.

    Anyway, marriage should always be a gay affair.

    (Isn't English wonderful?)

  • rate this

    Comment number 511.

    I personally have no problem with gay marriage...seems to me if 2 people love each other, then entering in to a relationship/marriage where you swear to love and honour each other foresaking all others is surely a good thing?! my only caveat is that churches must NOT be forced into performing such ceremonies. Although they are misguided it's their religion and shouldn't be forced into doing them

  • rate this

    Comment number 510.

    470.inqa You are confusing causality with self identity. It is a fact that you are a product of history and dependent upon your environment for your existence. Most human societies are patriarchal and rely upon reciprocity and hierarchy. When Cameron talks about 'Broken Britain' and the 'Big Society' for example he is referring to a perceived breakdown in social order through inadequate values.

  • rate this

    Comment number 509.

    I get worried about the way some people use the bible. My interpretation of it is that it tries to promote love and equality, even if it fails to do that at times, between all people, not just the select few. You can take certain passages out of context but surely, if people want to make this into a quasi-religious argument, God loves everyone, so wouldn't despise some for wanting a gay marriage!

  • rate this

    Comment number 508.

    What a storm in a teacup, the big problem is heredatry law, change that and there will be no problem and we hetrosexual majaroty will not have to listen to any more of this rubbish!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 507.

    Boanerges Most of the children in my extended family realised what a bunch of hypocrites so called christians were and still are. Feel free to believe what you wish, but kindly don't attempt to apply your beliefs to the rest of us who wish to correct the real sins in society, the poor, homeless & unemployed. presided over by the right wing christian mafia money men.

  • rate this

    Comment number 506.

    Cherry pick all you want, the BBC excels at it

    I'm probably entering into a zero procreation marriage within the next 12 months myself... a hetrosexual benefit-in-kind...

    The underlying fundamental basis of marriage, a real marriage, a proper successful marriage, is kids

    The rest of us are a bunch of has beens or nobodys desperate to grab a tiny piece of the crumbs from its' table

  • rate this

    Comment number 505.

    We live under a diverse society where differences, including those religious, are respected. This doesn't give you the right to force your beliefs on other people, including gays, who do no harm to you. As well, marriage as defined by the state is today detached from religious institutions. It includes tax benefits and hospital visit rights - religious matrimony optional. Please keep that in mind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 504.

    473. Tchernobog

    The case of Mr and Mrs Johns, for example, confirms that Christian views (about homosexuality) do NOT have equal status in Law.
    Wrong. It confirmed that everyone is equally wrong to discriminate - even Christians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 503.


    The Bible is the word of God, didn't you know that? Also, all minkind is born is sin because of Adam. That is why Christ died for us. Sheesh!

  • rate this

    Comment number 502.

    The move indicates only Obama's desperation to boost his chances for re-election.Otherwise.how could something that has been evolving and evolving over a long period become so evolved all of a sudden ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 501.

    Hmm, Yesterday the UK Government looked like it might be backing off same-sex marriage (the 'neutral' media hardly mentions it) AND North Carolina became the 29th US State to constitutionally define marriage as one man and one woman (the 'neutral' media predicted it might loose but it won by ~2/3rds)

    So today Obama "hastily arranged" an announcement... got to get the media back "on message"?


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