President Obama made history by being the first ever sitting US President to support gay marriage.
“I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly,” Obama said in the interview
“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.”
The interview is a major victory for gay rights campaigners.
In what has been an ‘evolution’ of opinion on the subject, Obama’s change of heart appeared to come after vice president Joe Biden’s remarks supporting gay marriage at the weekend.
The White House insisted that there was no daylight between the vice president’s position and the president’s, clarifying that Binden’s statement was in reference to civil rights for gay couples. However this was seen by many as a way for the President to signal his support without having to publicly declare it.
“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president said. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”