In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, President Barack Obama declared that “same sex couples should be able to get married.”
The president told ABC’s Robin Roberts that his views on the issue of marriage equality had been “going through an evolution.”
“I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally,” Obama explained. “I hesitated on gay marriage, in part, because I thought civil unions would be sufficient, that that was something that would give people hospital visitation rights and other elements that we take for granted, and I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.”
He continued: “But 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 incredibly committed, monogamous, 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 now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is gone because they’re 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 that same sex couples should be able to get married.”
The president’s announcement comes just one day after voters in North Carolina, a battleground state, passed for a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.
Watch this video from ABC News, broadcast May 9, 2012.