Earlier today in an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Barack Obama announced that he supports same-sex marriage - a striking reversal in light of his longstanding opposition.
In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this place, based on conversations with his own staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and conversations with his wife and own daughters.
"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.”
The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. But he said he’s confident that more Americans will grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters’ comfort with the concept.
“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, 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.”
When asked about the president's recent about-face, 7th district congressional candidate David Larsen issued the following statement:
“I'm disappointed but not surprised by President Obama's decision to turn his back on an institution that establishes the core of the family and forms the solid foundation of a civil society. Given the recent gaffe by Vice-President Biden, Jay Carney's fumbling attempt to explain the gaffe and Obama's declining popularity with his own liberal base, I'm surprised he didn't throw traditional marriage under the bus sooner than he did."
Larsen took the opportunity to reaffirm his position on this contentious social and legal issue:
"For my part, I will continue to oppose same-sex marriage with the same vigor that I support an enduring moral and social order that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”