When President Obama came out last week in favor of redefining marriage, he couched his opinion in the context of federalism, saying, “I think it is a mistake to — try to make what has traditionally been a state issue into a national issue.” During that same interview, however, he declared that a bipartisan law designed to protect states from judges who redefine marriage in other states, is “unconstitutional.”
Obama said his daughters, Malia and Sasha, have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. "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."
Obama was "disappointed" by Tuesday's vote on the issue in North Carolina, which he described as discriminatory against gays and lesbians, a spokesman said earlier Wednesday.
North Carolina voted to implement a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which was already prohibited by state law.
Obama strategists had rejected the idea of announcing the president’s support during a fund-raiser or at a speech to a gay rights group, because, as one Democrat close to the White House put it, that would “look like pandering.”
Long a proponent of civil unions, Mr. Obama said his views had changed in part because of prodding by friends who are gay and by conversations with his wife and daughters.
“I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient,” Mr. Obama said. “I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that invokes very powerful traditions and religious beliefs.”
Obama understood that the name really does matter to some opponents, mainly because they conflate civil marriage—the legal arrangement recognized by the state—with “the sacred institution of marriage” (as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney calls it), which is defined by religious traditions that date back a lot further than marriage licenses. As Obama put it in a 2007 presidential debate, “We should try to disentangle what has historically been the issue of the word marriage, which has religious connotations to some people, from the civil rights that are given to couples.”
"I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. [?] What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens. [?] So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them."
“Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights […] Barack Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.”
The declaration was not supposed to come this week. Instead, the White House had planned to dramatically unveil the shift shortly before the Democratic convention. But Obama had been agitated by Vice President Joe Biden’s own endorsement of gay marriage on Sunday, which knocked the White House off what was supposed to be its message this week—student loans and economic issues.
Obama: Supports legal recognition of same-sex marriage, a matter decided by states. Opposed that recognition in 2008 presidential campaign — and in 2004 Senate campaign — while supporting the extension of legal rights and benefits to same-sex couples in civil unions.
But Obama’s announcement may have rallied the Democratic base – particularly liberal Democrats – to the issue. Democrats supported gay marriage by a 59% to 31% margin in April – that stands at 65% to 29% today. Most of this shift has come among liberal Democrats, 83% of whom now support gay marriage, up from 73% earlier this year.
While President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage earlier this year drew significant news coverage and public interest, its effect on public opinion has been limited. Two consecutive national surveys conducted since May 9, when Obama made his announcement, show 48% in favor of allowing gay marriage and 44% opposed. This is virtually unchanged from a survey conducted in April, before the president’s statement.
Declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA ...
Stood against North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which would prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex relationships