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Obama Says He Supports Same-Sex Marriage, First President To Do So

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ending months of equivocation, President Barack Obama declared his support for gay marriage on Wednesday, an announcement fraught with history that also injects a potentially polarizing issue into the 2012 race for the White House.

U.S. President Barack Obama with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
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Above: U.S. President Barack Obama with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

"I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient," Obama said in an interview with ABC at the White House. He added that, "I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word `marriage' was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth."

Now, he said, "it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."

Obama's announcement cheered gay rights groups who have long urged him to support gay marriage. It also opened up a new area of disagreement with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who opposes gay marriage.

Polling suggests the nation is evenly divided on the issue.

Obama spoke about his support for gay marriage in deeply personal terms, saying his young daughters, Malia and Sasha, have friends whose parents are same-sex couples.

"Malia and Sasha, it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated different," Obama said. "It doesn't make sense to them and frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective."

Obama said his wife Michelle Obama was also involved in his decision and joins him in supporting gay marriage.

"In the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people," he said.

Acknowledging that his support for same-sex marriage may rankle religious conservatives, Obama said he thinks about his faith in part through the prism of the Golden Rule - treating others the way you would want to be treated.

"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," Obama said.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 9, 2012 at 12:34 p.m. ― 2 years, 7 months ago

I saw this and just completed giving a $50 donation to the President at www.barackobama.com.

I know it's not much, but everyone who supports equality should donate what they can like I did.

The stakes are too high on too many issues.

Obama, while not perfect, has a solid track record on diplomacy, defense, economics, and equality.

Yes, I said economics.

While our growth may be slow, at least we didn't get a second dip like Europe is experiencing. European countries like Greece have tried to dig themselves out of recession using austerity measures that are similar to what the Republicans want here.

They failed.

Europe is proof that stimulus makes more sense than austerity during economic depressions.

Willard and the Repulicans want to knock us back to thensone age, and they want to open a new front in South Asia by starting a war in Iran.

Mark my words, a Willard Romney presidency **will** mean war with Iran.

The hacks pulling his strings have made that quite clear.

The stakes are too high right now.

We **must** re-elect President Obama,

And thanks to you Mr. President and to Michelle as well for taking the right stand on equality today. You earned my donation and my respect.

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Avatar for user 'Studying_Nomad'

Studying_Nomad | May 9, 2012 at 1:04 p.m. ― 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't think this will help his campaign. It's just going to get the fundamentalist christian groups' knickers in a twist and out voting for the person that they consider a member of a cult. I know we have a lot of Mormons in the area, so be sure, "cult" isn't my preferred term, but that's the regular classification of Mormonism in the Bible belt.

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Avatar for user 'Beliad2'

Beliad2 | May 9, 2012 at 1:07 p.m. ― 2 years, 7 months ago

:)

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