President Barack Obama made history on May 9th, announcing that he supports same-sex marriage. He became the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage, making history with his announcement.
Whether a wise political move or personal conviction, or both; Obama made the announcement during an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts which aired on Wednesday May 9th.
“I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue. I’ve always been adamant that– gay and lesbian– Americans should be treated fairly and equally. And that’s why in addition to everything we’ve done in this administration, rolling back Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell– so that– you know, outstanding Americans can serve our country. Whether it’s no longer defending the Defense Against Marriage Act, which– tried to federalize– what is historically been state law.”
The president went on to say:
“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. Now– I have to tell you that part of my hesitation on this has also been I didn’t want to nationalize the issue. There’s a tendency when I weigh in to think suddenly it becomes political and it becomes polarized.”
The president went on to say that this issue is being worked out on the state level. However, ABC News correspondent Robin Roberts noted that this issue is not resolved on the state level. On Tuesday May 8th the state of North Carolina, became the 30th state to announce its ban on gay marriage.
Roberts further noted that this announcement would ignite controversy within the Black community and among various Christian religious groups. The president and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, are both practicing Christians. He also said he weighed the teachings of his Christian faith against a growing pro-marriage consensus among younger Americans — a key target group for his reelection campaign.
Soon after his announcement, Republican presidential candidate, former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, stated that he believes marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman. Romney is a practicing Mormon.
Critics believe Obama’s announcement will cause him just as much harm as it will help him in his fall reelection bid against Romney. The criticism centers around competing moral values: one of marriage as seen in scripture between a man and a woman and the other around fairness and equality for all.
In his interview with Roberts, the president said he had planned on making the announcement ahead of the late summer Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, a key battleground state in this year’s election. The convention is scheduled for the first week in September.
The timing of the president’s announcement was somewhat sped up, because Vice President Joe Biden stated in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday May 6th, 2012, that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same sex marriage.
The debate over gay marriage in America has evolved over the last decade. Two women in the state of Massachusetts were the first couple in the U.S. to marry, when they won a joint lawsuit against the state.
According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, show that the 52% of American’s believe gay marriage should be legal, while 43% disagree and the other 5% have no opinion. The percentages range from strong support to somewhat and strong disagreement to somewhat disagreement. The poll was conducted via telephone between March 7 and 10th of 2012.