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 820.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 819.

    @761 The Bible never says you SHOULD keep slaves, it simply lays out how you should live if you are a slave and how you should live if you are a slave owner. Also the slavery discussed in the Old Testament is very very different to the slavery of the 17&18th Centurys. On the other hand the Bible is very clear that homosexuality is wrong (Romans chapter 1) because it disrupts Gods creation order.

  • rate this

    Comment number 818.

    i BELIVE STRONGLY IN GAY MARRIGE. my dad was gay his dad was gay and his great unlces wife was lesbian

  • rate this

    Comment number 817.

    It is appropriate that those who choose a same-sex partnership should have equal legal rights and responsibilities as those who choose a partner of the opposite gender. Beyond that it is nothing to do with the state.

    As for the terminology, 'marriage' is a clear and unabiguous term for a loving commitment to the partner of choice.

    It is up to each individual to make their own choices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 816.

    @794. Quartus45

    Thank you, but after being brought up by a practising Catholic family I assure you I understand FULLY.

    One day I started asking questions... this of course is frowned upon in religious circles for obvious reasons - there are no answers.

    In a civilised society, most organised religions would be censored as they're nothing more than an elaborate protection scam.

  • rate this

    Comment number 815.

    A message to some of the faithful here:

    Churches didn't create marriage. Many people don't want the church involved in their marriage. Many people don't believe in your god.

    Your faith has no right or reason to comment on the label applied to a non-believers union.

  • rate this

    Comment number 814.

    @ 804

    Do you really want to go down this road? Do you really want us to start quoting all the wacky nonsense that the bible advocates we should do or not do? I'll get the ball rolling, Leviticus 19:19 "Don't wear clothes made of more than one fabric", yup, makes total sense that one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 813.

    I don't believe that the majority of the population agree to this, but are just too frightened to stand up, because they will get called a bigot. We have had the same thing with Global warming and the EU, but eventually the rest of the population eventually make a stand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 812.

    (I thought the bible was all about respect and love),

    => Oh deary me, no. You need only read a couple of psalms to confirm the opposite. God is to be feared. Have a look at psalm 109. What would you think of a god who responds to the "speaker's" requests?

  • rate this

    Comment number 811.

    I've no problem with civil unions - even if they confer the same benefits as marriage, but just don't go calling it marriage.

    It IS NOT marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman - That is a simple fact.

    The gay rights brigade would have a much easier time getting these laws through if they wouldn't insist on using the word marriage. That is the part that many heterosexuals find offensive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 810.

    Olbermann says it better than I ever could. To those of you who are against this, please please watch this video (it's quite short)

  • rate this

    Comment number 809.

    Poster Veggiedude
    Are you THE Vegggiedude of urrm rapidshare fame (wink)

  • rate this

    Comment number 808.

    Re 770. I am not a Moslem but even I know that true Islam does not force anyone to do anything, even non believers. Islam acknowledges 'Children of The Book' both Christian and Jewish so let's just stop this anti Islamic rubbish and learn to be more tolerant. Don't shove your god down my throat and I wont shove my god down your throat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 807.

    I have read several comments on here proposing that having two loving heterosexual parents is a better and more nurturing environment for the child than having two same sex parents no matter how loving they are. I'm sorry but I just dont understand that point of view, if the child is loved and nurtured what difference does the gender or sexual preference of the people loving them make?

  • rate this

    Comment number 806.

    786 Mark Cousins

    In what way does the law promote homosexual relationships? Discerning right from wrong? Easy ... it's wrong if it hurts other people. How does a gay relationship do this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 805.

    Well aren't the US people lucky, where they get to choose between two warmongering Bildeberg-selected puppets, where, in a world of collapsing economies the only thing they can get obsessed about is gay marriage and abortion.

    It wouldn't be a bigger deliberate distraction if Michelle Bachmann pulled down her pants and waved her buttocks sporting a painted american flag at people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 804.

    I feel sympathy for President Obama, but in the Bible, in Leviticus 18, it says this:

    Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed...
    Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman...
    Do not have sexual relations with an animal...

    Surely if we legitimise one practice we may as well legitimise the others?
    The President claims to be a Bible-believing Christian.

  • rate this

    Comment number 803.

    @787 Budahboy, in that case, I apologise for targeting your comment. I must admit, even as a young man of 23, I am not familiar with the use of drugs, and so I guess you can see where I was mistaken.

  • rate this

    Comment number 802.

    BBC pushing their agenda once again. Perhaps you could think outside the box and attempt to post a more balanced argument? Many out there have a different view- shame we don't get to see it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 801.

    Obama you are a true legend! you are paving the way for change and a better future for everyone! Maybe the rest of the world will take note...


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