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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  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    I am a young (24) gay man in a long term relationship with a man I love. Thank you Obama. However it upsets me when I read so many negative comments here.I realise that life will always be a struggle due to the selfish views of a limited but significant number of people. Fortunately in the UK we don't have many gay teen suicides, unlike the US where many have unfortunately taken their lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    Obama should be congratulated for trying to bring the US out of the dark ages and into the 21st Century. As humanity advances through time, so will equal rights for all, and as John Lennon & co put it.."all you need is love". To those objecting to gay marriage, why do you wish to deny happiness to others ? It doesn't affect you or YOUR marriage. Do the decent thing, live and let live.

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    To all the religious freaks on this forum: I honestly couldn't care less if the church approves same-sex marriages or not, but there is something called "separation of church and state". A government should have nothing to do with churches and religions, and should respect the freedom and equality of all people and shouldn't discriminate anyone, so I can only support Obama on this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    Allah says: “We also (sent) Lût: he said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 80-81]

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.


    I advocate it.
    I'll advocate it anywhere, any time, in the face of anyone.
    They are people too, just like all these heteros you see walking about getting married. I think some people on here need to realise this. Just because they've fallen in love with the same sex doesn't change the way they should be treated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    266. Gazza
    Fr Ted 236 ..'best environment for a child is unconditional love.'

    "Best environment for a child is unconditional love by a mother and father. My every day experience for 20 years in schools and the counselling room compels me to state this fact."

    May I suggest your experience to date has been with hetero-sexual couples. I agree it is good.

    But you used the word "best" ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    I still don't get the big deal here. Gay couples can already get hitched. They get a unique version. What is it they want? If they want a church version forced in, that's trampling on others rights, very old rights, it's kind of spiteful. Striking against a right we all share, for a change of a word, for a minority is ... pretty stupid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Can't believe there's so many ignorant, close minded idiots replying to this discussion.
    The people who are against gay marriage, are the minority, thank god (literally! :P)

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    257. andrew2102

    There isn't a "gay" gene, so your argument makes no sense. There's a gene for bisexuality though, which IS inherited, and which may or may not be "switched on" at birth. 2 copies of it makes someone "fully" gay. Sadly, there's not enough room here to explain in depth. But read up how sickle cell anaemia happens, and it's the same process.

  • Comment number 271.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 270.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    I cannot believe religious zealots (who can't read their own religious texts properly either by the sounds of it) still think it acceptable to blather on about "tolerance" and then denounce same-sex marriage as "evil" and "wrong". Why do they care? It's not them, and anyway, if they're right, then they'll be in "Heaven" whilst the rest of us enjoy ourselves in "Hell" with open minded humans

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    You don't have to be intelligent to realise that we're not living in the dark ages ruled by religious bigotry; but it helps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    Well this is only going to add the the destruction of the social fabric of society.

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    Fr Ted 236 ..'best environment for a child is unconditional love.'

    Yes but let me add just a little:

    Best environment for a child is unconditional love by a mother and father. My every day experience for 20 years in schools and the counselling room compels me to state this fact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    Marriage to me symbolises commitment and love. It is not a commitment to god, by allowing gay people to marry is not forcing people into religious buildings. Whether you are gay or straight it doesn't matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    Finally a step forward instead of clinging onto and pandering to the narrow minded religious dogma of the past. Well done to President Obama and to those who voted for him. May his forward thinking progress continue long into the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    Marriage being about some Biblical mandate to reproduce? Then I guess my wife and I should not have been married, as she is not able to have children and we are atheists. Would the Bible also prohibit marriage to those who are not Christian as well?

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    LORD have mercy on America and President Obama; for a nation that boasts of its Christian morals & family values & Christian faith & biblical heritage through the centuries, have now compromised everything for the sake of man made laws. Shame on you Mr President, and shame on them that allowed this law to be passed by the Senate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one....

    I rest my case!


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