President Barack Obama told ABC News’ Robin Roberts on Tuesday that he supports marriage for same-sex couples.
“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 Obama.
The president’s comments come less than a day after North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Vice President Joe Biden endorsed nuptials for gays and lesbians earlier in the week.
“Today, President Obama made history by boldly stating that gay and lesbian Americans should be fully and equally part of the fabric of American society and that our families deserve nothing less than the equal respect and recognition that comes through marriage,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who co-sponsored a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, described Obama’s announcement as proof of his commitment to LGBT Americans. “The president’s unequivocal support today in favor of all committed couples to marry the person they love is a watershed moment in American history that will provide the leadership needed to finally repeal DOMA and win the unfinished fight for equality for all Americans.”
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who co-chairs a coalition of more than 200 mayors who support nuptials for gays and lesbians, agreed.
“Only a day after the disheartening passage of Amendment 1 in North Carolina, the supporters of marriage equality now have a reason to celebrate,” he said. “With his inspired declaration of support for same-sex marriage, President Obama has significantly advanced the cause of human rights and equality in the United States. We look forward to the day when all Americans – gay and straight – are free to follow their hearts and marry the person they love. If we truly believe in family values, we should value all families.”