Obama Endorses Gay Marriage, Cites Malia & Sasha as Catalysts

After widespread prompting from media and politicos this week, the president announced that he supports gay marriage

Barack Obama became the first sitting president to endorse gay marriage today. In an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts that will air on Good Morning America tomorrow, the president described his thoughts on gay marriage as an "evolution."

"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.

 

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The president continued saying, "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.”

The statement comes just days after Vice President Joe Biden announced that he was "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex marriage -- prompting many in the media and politics (and us here at iVillage!) to wonder when the president would publicly do the same.

In the past Obama has waffled on the issue of gay marriage, saying in 2004 that marriage was between a man and a woman, but disclosing in 2008 that he is supportive of civil unions of same-sex couples. The endorsement is a big victory for the gay community -- and likely bittersweet after North Carolina passed an amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman just last night.

When asked by Roberts if the first lady is on the same page, Obama responded, "This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do."

Courtney Thompson is iVillage’s senior homepage producer. Follow her on Twitter: @courtneythomp.

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