Thursday, 10 May 2012, 06:27
In a historic move, President Barack Obama has become the very first President of the United States to voice support for marriage equality and same-sex marriage. A new interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts reveals that Obama, who has previously voted against marriage equality and in favor of civil unions, has changed his stance, explaining that his opinion has "evolved."
"It is important me to be able to affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he tells 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," he says.
Excerpts from the interview will air on Wednesday's edition of "World News Tonight," with a more thorough segment airing on Thursday's "Good Morning America."
He shares that his interactions with young people, from his own daughters to college-age voters, has helped his policies to shift.
"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," he says. "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."
Obama explains that he and wife Michelle have come to this conclusion together, and that it does not compromise their devotion to their Christian faith. "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," he says. "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."
Opponent Mitt Romney, of course, hasn't had such a change of heart.
"My view is that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman," Romney says. "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."