Wang Yiou / XINHUA / LANDOV

After years of talking about "evolving beliefs," President Barack Obama has just come out with his unequivocal support of same-sex marriage.

"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."

Whew. That's a big moment. 

Obama did go right ahead and counter that by saying that this is a personal decision, and that he still supports states' sovereignty in deciding the issue on their own.

Go ahead and watch the full interview, and then be as happy as your brain will allow, because this is kind of a big deal.

Commentarium (44 Comments)

May 09 12 - 3:44pm
pot-er head

Many of my friends in college are LGBT and I knew Obama supported civil unions, but to hear that he fully pledges his personal (and that's the key word republicans) support for same-sex marriages only reaffirms my support of him. Even though this is not a policy change by any means, it is still a hugely important step toward legalizing same-sex marriage. Who knows, maybe Obama and Biden are secret lovers and the North Carolina bill finally pushed Obama over the edge. Either that or Obama just wants to preside over every lesbian marriage in America.

May 09 12 - 4:33pm
profrobert

Yes, he did the right thing, but he did it now because he decided it was politically expedient to do so. He's correctly decided to energize his base while conceding a group of center-right voters he likely wasn't going to get anyway. Remember, running for the Illinois Senate, he said he supported marriage equality; then when running for President in 2008, said that, while he supported civil unions, marriage should be for one man and one woman. What's remarkable to me is not that Obama did the "right" thing, but rather that the "expedient" thing to do has become supporting marriage equality -- *that* is amazing and wonderful.

May 11 12 - 3:08pm
Kel

Yes, gay marriage is that popular.

May 09 12 - 4:48pm
again

another niche sector in his pocket. he will do anything to get reelected. igniting class warfare is his best tool. he is single handily destroying this country. has he created any jobs? the deficit is totally out of control, he has doubled what it was when he entered office, doubled. what exactly has he done to get reelected? healthcare is a sham. they don't even know what they wrote in it! what exactly do they not understane about ILLEGAL. look up the word. and we give them every thing. they pay for nothing. and it is out of your pocket.

May 09 12 - 5:12pm
Wait, what?

Aside from believing in equal rights, something promised to us in the Constitution that the right seems to forget about every time they evoke the founders, legalizing gay marriage would actually benefit the economy. Consider this: an entire block of individuals would be spending saved money on ceremonies, guests would purchase gifts, caterers hired, florists paid, suits rented, dresses made, and so on. What if we let gays adopt? They'd spend money on their children, injected needed money into various enterprises, thus encouraging growth, jobs, stability ...

It's actually a really good idea that won't fix the financial problem, but will certainly contribute in a small way (in addition to allowing others to experience the same freedoms as everyone else).

And so you can spill your meaningless diatribe about how Obama doubled the deficit (despite inheriting a shit economy in 2008, or have we forgotten about that already) and that nationalized health care is a "sham" whatever that means. And I don't quite understand how this ignites class warfare. But there are some good reasons to legalize gay marriage.

Additionally, your suggestion that Obama has "another niche sector in his pocket" and that he "will do anything to get reelected is laughable. Obviously, he's a politician. He wants to win the youth vote and ignite some fervor into his campaign. This is the best way for him to take something the Vice President and Secretary of Education commented on and turn it into a political victory. Don't pull this "he's got this group in his pocket" as if candidates aren't constant panderers. Don't be stupid AND naive.

May 09 12 - 5:43pm
Archie Leach

Gender politics is "class warfare"?? Hey "again": it's time to educamate your understanding of politics past that 3rd grade social studies book.

May 09 12 - 5:53pm
jpm

@again
http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/
it's supposed to be sarcastic but it has legitimate info about what else obama's done, like create jobs

May 09 12 - 9:17pm
Until he...

...supports more than two people marrying, he's just an old-school bigot.

May 10 12 - 10:30am
..

Apart from the obvious moral dimension, forward-looking businesses support marriage equality in their states and countries as it allows them to attract the best talent. See: Microsoft. It is absolutely an economic issue. That's the thing conservatives consistently fail or refuse to understand. Social issues are economic issues (and vice versa).

May 09 12 - 5:00pm
meh

Doesn't matter because marriage is defined at the state level.
His support doesn't change what North Caroline or North Dakota chooses to do.

But to me I think it's come down to a word, "marriage". Let them keep the word if they are so worked up about it. Is it the word we want or is it the rights?

Lets get the government out of marriage. Sure we get married by getting a license from the state, yet have to get divorced in the courts. Basically it's contract law.

So the government has civil unions, a contract between two people, that bestow all the rights and responsibilities thereof, to whomever decides to enter into the contract, gay or straight.

If you want to be "married" then find a church that will hold a ceremony for you, but don't give up what's really important, the rights over the use of a word.

May 09 12 - 5:23pm
profrobert

If we were writing on a blank slate, I'd agree with you. "Marriage" can be whatever a church -- or anyone, for that matter -- says it is, but government only regulates civil unions (and their dissolution). But we're not starting from scratch, we're starting from a situation where every jurisdiction in the United States defines and regulates marriage and its legal effects. As hard as it is getting to "marriage" equality, I think it would be even harder to erase the word "marriage" from all the statutes and replace it with "civil unions."

May 09 12 - 5:57pm
meh

How hard was it been for those states that currently have civil unions to make the change?

Give the religious bigots the word, take the rights.

May 10 12 - 3:43am
TC

Marriage was a thing before the Christian church hijacked it. It's always been a contract between two families to decide what happens to property, which was more than just a plot of land. It wasn't until the religions started throwing the word around as a covenant with God that it got all messy. But marriage came first, then our current religions. It wasn't the other way around. So I say religion should call its marriage something else. It's not a Christian creation, they should stop acting like it was.

May 10 12 - 10:38am
..

@meh

This works in principle but not in practice. Because the simple fact is that we're not going to stop calling the institution "marriage" and so civil unions will remain "separate but equal." (Also, what TC said.)

And I'm a crestfallen North Carolinian, but Obama's support matters a great deal in the long-term, whether or not he's re-elected. A sitting president declaring his support for marriage equality would have been unthinkable six years ago. It underscores and affirms a cultural shift.

May 10 12 - 1:40pm
meh

TC
I didn't say it was Christian, I said it was religious. Many religions define what marriage is, not just the Christian religion.

I just feel that the effort is wasted over a word. The rights are what matter.

If the statutes all said civil union, that would appease many who just don't like the fact that it's called marriage.

May 09 12 - 5:02pm
Stuckina Parkbench

Thank you Mr. President and VP Biden for injecting a modicum of sanity into this country's political dialogue. Discrimination in any form is not the role of government. It's the role of the institutional religion ;^)

May 10 12 - 1:52pm
Discriminator

If discrimination in any form is not the role of the government then let's stop discriminating against bigotry, polygamy, pedophilia, etc.

May 11 12 - 7:00am
stehlen; nuxperl

I still don't understand why polygamy is such a horrible thing... if three (or more) consenting adults want to marry why should I give a fuck?

May 16 12 - 2:49pm
Polyanna

Or ten people? On the other hand, that would make it more difficult to smear Mitt Romney. Damn civil rights!

May 09 12 - 5:46pm
Archie Leach

If gay marriage, or marriage in general, had any important meaning to me, I guess I'd give a fvck.

May 09 12 - 6:43pm
ideonsse 9

Of course supporting gay marriage is (IMO) the right thing to do, but don't start patting yourself on the back just yet... you made this announcement only after scathing criticism at your inability to do so before now (in particular, since Wackaloonie Biden made his own announcement) so it's clearly just another self-serving move made only when it's most politically advantageous of you to do so. If this wasn't an election year you wouldn't be saying this.

Sorry pal, you don't impress me in the slightest. You're just another hack asshole politician just like Romney and everyone else. You all deserve to be run out of town. How people still can't see this, and are still drinking your Hope And Change Kool-Aid after the complete sham of the last three years is beyond me.

May 09 12 - 7:01pm
steve

first, President Obama isn't reading this.

second, find me another president in history that ha supported gay marriage. I won't argue with you about the political savviness of this move, but here the ends ABSOLUTELY justify the means. In 50 years, no one will talk about how Obama did this to win an election, but how Obama was the president that started the inevitable move toward marriage equality.

So please, take your juvenile high school angst and shove it.

May 09 12 - 9:40pm
And in the mean time

People will be talking about how despite supporting (actually he said homosexual "should" have the right...) homosexual marriage, he lost the election.

May 09 12 - 9:56pm
ideonsse 9

Not sure what was juvenile or high school about anything I said. Obama's move is so transparent and shallow, and I don't understand how you (and everyone else) can't see right through this. The guy hasn't done FUCKING SHIT for the last three years, but he's sure putting all the right spin in the here and now with the election looming, a strong Republican opposition and not just a few disillusioned Democrats and independents to deal with.

The guy is so incompetent it's absurd... and Romney ain't any better. No one should be in support of either of these fucktards, or any other Democrat or Republican. None of these Washington putzes give a damn about us, and none of them are doing anything that is actually a positive move for you or me or the country. It's all about ensuring their own power, their own money and their own prestige. Period, no exceptions.

May 09 12 - 11:04pm
fdsafs

What the hell are you talking about, ideonsse 9? A threw in an incomplete list of things that Obama did in the last 3 years. I really don't know what the hell more you'd have expected from even an average president (you obviously consider Obama to be below average).

- killed Bin Laden, passed a national healthcare bill, ended war in Iraq, passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (most economists agree that we'd probably be in recession without it), saved automobile industry, ended ban on stem-cell research, ended 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy in military..... the list goes on and on.

May 10 12 - 6:18am
Steve the Beve

I'm with ideonsee.

The guy's a joke. He's on record as having supported gay marriage years and years ago. Then he campaigns for President and decides he can't support full gay marriage (which he previously did) and then now he's back where we started and we pin a medal on the guy?

Fuck that. It's embarrassing that he didn't come out in the support of gay marriage the first time around.

May 10 12 - 11:53am
morrittz

What's embarrassing is that the majority of the American people would not have voted for an American president who openly supported gay marriage in 2008. They still might not in 2012

May 10 12 - 12:32pm
Kel

I believe I'm seeing the same person showing up here under different names.

May 11 12 - 6:56am
rubbing rgicann

@fdsafs

Killed Bin Laden: no he didn't, Navy SEALS did that. He authorized the mission, but he certainly didn't instigate the effort nor was it his idea to do so. It most certainly would have happened when Bin Laden was found, no matter when that occurred. He got lucky that it happend under his watch, it could've easily happened under Dubya, under the next President (be that Romney if he wins this year, or whoever wins in 2016), or he might have been rooted out by a non-US faction at some point down the road. To give Obama credit for this is absurd.

Passed a national healthcare bill: a bill that roughly half of the country thinks is a bad idea, that the Supreme Court is very likely to (correctly) find at least some portions unconstitutional. A bill that does nothing to actually solve the problems, as there's not a single part of Obamacare that actually tackles the real issue which is the cost of healthcare. It just shuffles the responsibility to pay for the ever-increasing costs to someone else. It's like a Bandaid on a herpe (and if OCare works out as expected that might be quite literally the care you receive).

If food was so expensive that we needed insurance to pay for it, there would be riots in the streets. Why we accept such garbage from the healthcare industry I do not know but it's time to REVOLT. What it's not time for is government involvement, as the gub'mint only makes everything they touch worse. Not better, worse. Far, far worse.

Ended the war in Iraq: well, sort of. He finally got the troops out, which is a good thing. He didn't really "end the war" as you put it.

Passed the Recovery Act: um, Earth to you -- we've been in a recession long *before* that was passed, it certainly didn't save us from a recession. And I'm not sure where you're getting your "most economists" BS (Rachel Maddow, I'm sure) but by all accounts that piece of very expensive legislation that our children's grandchildren will still be paying for has done very little to pull us out of this recession (and according to some leading economic experts has actually extended the problem).

The economy is still in the tank, show no real measurable signs of significant recovery, and Obama continues to do nothing about it ("it" in this case being the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE we're facing right now, bar none). I'm neither a right wing conservative nor a Republican, but on economic matters the Democrats are completely and utterly clueless, and prove it time and time again. (I don't usually care for labels, but I suppose if I had to be pigeonholed I'd generally be considered a libertarian, but I'm very left when it comes to gay marriage and drug laws, and very right on economic issues and the idea of small government.)

Saved the automobile industry: no. What he did was bail them out without doing anything to prevent them from destroying themselves all over again. Another case of Bandaid on a herpe; it's very easy to hide the problem but you're not doing anything to actually resolve it. Bewildering levels of incompetence on the part of management, coupled with crippling demands by the UAW... don't get me wrong, I don't want to see them fail (we need all the manufacturing jobs we can get in the US, and we need to impose high tariffs and other measures to bring more manufacturing back to the US), but to just let them continue without massive restructuring, reformation, overhaul and a significant throttling back of the union is irresponsible and will only lead to more problems.

Ended the ban on stem-cell research: yup, credit there. However, a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things that need to be addressed right now.

Ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": again, credit where credit is due to get rid of this ridiculous policy that never should've been enacted in the first place (thanks Bill!). But again, not of national importance compared to the much more pressing, important issues facing the nation as a whole, issues that he has been almost entirely ineffectual at addressing. He talks a good talk, especially when it comes to feelgood legislation and policy, but is completely ineffectual when it comes to the real stuff. He was grossly unprepared to be POTUS, and he's proving this daily. (This is BTW what the Democrats are exceptional at: they talk a lot about things that make people feel good, and either avoid or mishandle all things of real substance.)

The list goes on and on: really? OK, then by all means continue.

May 11 12 - 8:38pm
Kingston Trio

What difference does it make if you are, Kel? You're still the same posing, pretending dumbass.

May 12 12 - 5:24pm
fdsafs

@rubbing rgicann

I was responding to original poster's claim that Obama has done nothing since he took office. The fact that you had to write a huge rambling, idiotic response full of rhetoric to that only proves it. I mean come on. The president didn't kill Bin Laden, the Navy SEALS did? Really? By your definition, no president ever does anything except sign papers. Because literally, that's all any president ever does. Hitler never literally killed anyone either during WW2. I guess that means you probably think he was a pretty OK guy.

May 13 12 - 8:37pm
Apyrig Knots

It's not rhetoric, it's reality. You should try it sometime, the Kool-Aid is getting stale.

As for the Navy Seals paragraph, maybe you should read past the first sentence and you'd understand the point.

May 09 12 - 8:29pm
Kia

FUCKIN SUCK IT OBAMA HATERS!!!

May 09 12 - 10:01pm
Civil Discourse

So nice to see who will be leaving power in January. Time to put the adults back in place. Amateur hour is over.

May 09 12 - 10:49pm
I don't know

It's wonderful for the president to have voiced his personal support and caveat. I know he made a political calculation and that's fine with me. Politicians do that, and people make all sorts of calculations with personal benefits in mind. I'm somewhat aware of what he's done through the past couple of years in office and though I don't support everything (I don't think anyone fully does), his efforts are in a favorable direction. I hope a next term will bring the country closer to more favorable terms.

May 10 12 - 6:14am
Bob Rob

Shameful it took this long.

May 10 12 - 1:55pm
Nah

He was for gay marriage until 2008 and just took a breather until now when he's for it again unless you don't want it in your state then he's cool with you being against it unless it hassles him.

May 15 12 - 3:43pm
Yep

BO has taken such a principled stand that homosexual marriage will not be part of the party platform and there will be no Federal legislation to overturn the DOMA. A truly craptacular stand!

May 10 12 - 9:03am
moops

He finally realized he had nothing to lose. The anti-Obama people already think he is a communist Muslim. Now they will just think he is a communist Muslim homosexual.

May 10 12 - 1:58pm
Bo Darville

A homo, a communist, and a muslim walk into a bar and the bartender said "What can I get you Mr. President?"

May 10 12 - 12:36pm
Kel

The funniest thing about all this is that Romney, forced to take a position opposite from Obama's, came out in favor of a federal ban on same-sex marriage, which would be completely unconstitutional. And today the story came out that Romney bullied at least one gay classmate while in high school, his friends pinning the suspected gay classmate to the floor and Romney using a scissors to cut off his crying classmate's hair.

May 11 12 - 8:48pm
Kingston Trio

No, the funniest thing is that you're wrong about this as well. Romney has indicated that this is a state decision just as Obama did in his "courageous" decision.

And, yes, we did record Early Morning Rain but please feel free to arrogantly tell us we didn't; it's very amusing.

May 10 12 - 12:57pm
mr. man

now if we can just get the president to stop chopping away our privacy and civil liberties, stop persecuting govt whistleblowers, and stop terrorizing other countries with death from the skies (i.e. drones) then we might be on to something.

May 10 12 - 2:00pm
Groovy Grubworm

Obama now has the same opinion on marriage as Dick Cheney?