Political Buzz May 9, 2012: President Barack Obama Affirms Support & Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal in ABC News Interview — Transcript Excerpts


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. 2011.


President Obama spoke with Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the Cabinet Room of the White House during an interview on Wednesday.

Pete Souza/White House, via Reuters

President Obama spoke with Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the Cabinet Room of the White House during an interview on Wednesday.

President Obama Supports Same Sex Marriage

Source: WH, 5-9-12
Today, in an interview with ABC News, President Obama said, “I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

With that one statement, he made it clear that he believes that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships from getting married.

Obviously, the President has spent time giving this issue serious consideration, and his view has been shaped by conversations with his family, his friends, neighbors, and the people who work with him at the White House.

In the interview, he said that he had discussed the issue around the dinner table with his wife and daughters. He said he’d heard from service members who, even after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, felt constrained because they aren’t allowed to get married.

And in the end, the President said, he believes it’s important to “treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

Later tonight, ABC will air excerpts of the interview on “World News With Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline.”

Tomorrow, the entire interview will run on Good Morning America.

President Obama Affirms His Support for Same Sex Marriage

Source: ABC News Blogs, 5-9-12

Video: Watch Obama Interview (ABC News)

“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” and “Nightline.”

Watch Obama Explains Support for Same Sex Marriage

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.”

Watch Michelle Obama’s View on Same-Sex Marriage

“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.”

Watch Obama Says Kids Helped Him Evolve

The president’s position became a flashpoint this week, when Vice President Joe Biden pronounced himself “absolutely comfortable” with allowing same-sex couples to wed.

President Obama’s Evolution on Same-Sex Marriage

Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail Monday that he continues to oppose gay marriage. “My view is that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. That’s the position I’ve had for some time, and I don’t intend to make any adjustments at this point. … Or ever, by the way.”


Obama Tells ABC News Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal: President Obama declared for the first time on Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage, putting the moral power of his presidency behind a social issue that continues to divide the country.
“At a certain point,” Mr. Obama said in an interview in the Cabinet Room at the White House with ABC’s Robin Roberts, “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 comments end years of public equivocating over the divisive social issue for the president, who has previously said he opposed gay marriage but repeatedly said he was “evolving” on the issue because of contact with friends and others who are gay…. – NYT, 5-9-12

Romney Reaffirms Opposition to Marriage, or Similar, for Gay Couples: The question of precisely what legal status and protections should be granted to gay couples is emerging as an issue of the sharpest possible contrast between the two presidential candidates…. – NYT, 5-9-12

In shift of position, Obama says he supports same-sex marriage: In an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, President Obama clarified his views on same-sex marriage, saying he believes gay couples should be allowed to marry. The president has been under intense pressure for his self-described “evolving” position on the issue since Sunday, when Vice President Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage…. – WaPo, 5-9-12

Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal: By publicly endorsing same-sex marriage in a television interview, the president took a definitive stand on one of the most contentious and politically charged social issues of the day…. – NYT, 5-9-12

  • Obama says same-sex couples should be able to marry: After years of “evolving” on the issue, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, a stance that is likely to please his political base and complicate efforts…. – Reuters, 5-9-12
  • President Obama says Sasha and Malia influenced his stance on gay marriage: President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage Wednesday, just hours after North Carolina adopted a constitutional amendment to ban it — one of 41 states where same-sex marriage is illegal. President Obama’s declaration does not change any law, … CBS News, 5-9-12
  • Obama announces he supports same-sex marriage: President Barack Obama said Wednesday he supports same-sex marriage, raising the political stakes on an issue over which Americans are evenly split. The announcement was the first by a sitting president and put Obama squarely…. – CNN, 5-9-12
  • Year shapes up to be big one for both sides of gay marriage battle: Almost overnight, gay marriage again has emerged as a prominent national issue, and a series of coming ballot initiatives will test supporters’ and opponents’ sway over voters, lawmakers, … Boston Herald, 5-9-12
  • Analysis: Obama gambles with gay marriage move: Public opinion about gay marriage has changed so rapidly that President Barack Obama’s historic embrace of it may pose as many political risks to Republicans as to the president and his fellow Democrats.
    The president’s dramatic shift on the issue — a watershed moment in U.S. politics, even if many people felt it was inevitable — is the latest sign that Democratic hopes increasingly rest on younger, college-educated and largely urban voters, whose lifestyles are shaped by social mobility more than religious and community traditions…. – AP, 5-9-12
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