President Obama makes history, telling ABC's Robin Roberts "I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."
In the end, President Obama couldn't sit on the fence anymore.
Along the way, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts scored what may the scoop of the year, providing the interview setting where the first sitting president in history could say "I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."
Immediately, the Twittersphere has splintered into speculation, saying many of Obama's fundraisers are gay and that most of his supporters already believe in gay marriage. But I think Obama's reluctance has sometimes been about the fear of alienating the independent voters he needs to hold the White House; according to CNN this afternoon a Gallup Poll shows 57 percent of Independents now also support gay marriage, so even those numbers are bending his way.
See the video by scrolling to the bottom, or watch clips by clicking here.
Two questions Roberts didn't seem to ask: What does it mean when he says these are his "personal" views? And what about the president's words that the states should ultimately decide issue?
Statements by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan supporting gay marriage also pushed Obama into a corner. he could deflate his own constituency by constantly ducking the question every time he faces reporters, or he could take a stand on the right side of history.
Eight years ago, I wrote about how gay people's fight for equality in marriage, employment, military and housing issues often mirrored black people's fight for civil rights -- a position many African Americans criticized back then.
It is good to see our president get on the right side of history. In the process, he has taken a stand which the GOP will be happy to denounce and oppose (how will the Log Cabin Republicans, the group of gay supporters inside the GOP, respond to this?)
According to an ABC News release, this is what the president told Roberts: "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,” Obama told Roberts, in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday. Excerpts of the interview will air tonight on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.”
“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president continued. “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, sexual orientation that they 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.”
“This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, 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. 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.”
So now the stage is set, thanks to a groundbreaking admission during a carefully scheduled TV interview.