Obama: ‘I think same-sex couples should be able to get married’

President Barack Obama has become the highest-ranking political supporter of the right of same-sex couples to marry.

In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, Obama said that he has “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 comments came in an interview with “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts for an interview that will air Thursday morning.

The interview came on the heels of comments made in a Sunday-morning TV interview with Vice President Joe Biden in which the veep had also expressed support for gay marriage – and a Gallup Poll released last week showing that a majority of Americans support the right of same-sex couples to marry.

News of Obama’s stance was welcomed by supporters of equal rights for gays, lesbians and transgenders nationwide.

“President Obama’s ‘evolution’ is now complete. Congratulations, Mr. President, for making history today by becoming the first sitting president to explicitly support marriage for same-sex couples. Who benefits? Millions of families who now know that their country’s leader believes in fairness for all. This is a great day for America,” said Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

“Americans fundamentally believe in fairness, but many, like the president, have struggled to reconcile that core belief and the question of marriage equality,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “The president’s words will no doubt inspire thousands more conversations around kitchen tables and in church pews.  We are confident that our nation will continue to move inexorably toward equality and we thank the president for so boldly leading us in that direction.”

Social conservatives, not surprisingly, had a different reaction.

“I’ve been saying this for the last four years.  Obama has always been in favor of homosexual marriage, but was forced to keep his enthusiasm at a distance for fear of offending the American public,” said Andrea Lafferty, the president of the Traditional Values Coalition. “Obama needs new friends.  His leadership has completely alienated Wall Street, financial investors, small businesses, soccer moms, and virtually every other constituency by pushing his radical ideology at a time when America needed principled leadership.  Who better to appease than the LGBT community with tons of disposable income to fund his re-election campaign?”

It isn’t about politics to Obama, who credits First Lady Michelle Obama with helping him evolve on the marriage-equality issue.

“We are both practicing Christians, and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated,” Obama said in the ABC interview. “And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.”


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