“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,” said President Obama in an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.
Out & Equal applauds President Obama for this important step for equality in our country.
“I am thrilled,” said Selisse Berry, Founding Executive Director of Out & Equal. “It is historic and groundbreaking for the President of the United States to state that committed LGBT couples deserve the right to marry. Along with equal access to employment, marriage equality is fundamental to the health and well being of all Americans. This is another important step in the movement towards progress and equality for our community.”
This declaration comes on the heels of Vice President Biden declaring his support for marriage equality on Meet the Press last week: “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties, and quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.” You can watch video from that appearance here.
President Obama’s statement also comes the morning after North Carolina passed Amendment 1 – an amendment that mandates “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized.”
“It does make a difference when the President of the United States voices his support for marriage equality,” said Pat Baillie, Director of Training at Out & Equal. “It is one step towards a future in which in all LGBT people have full rights.”
Baillie points out that President Obama moved from awareness to an ally after talking to service members who are fighting for our country, but are constrained because they can not marry who they choose.
“It illustrates that by sharing our stories, we can change minds and perceptions,” Baillie said.
Read more and watch the video here.