Pres. Obama on Same-Sex Marriage

I’ve already mentioned an intriguing conversation between President Obama and blogger Joe Sudbay of AMERICABlog, focused on the President’s views on ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy about gays in the military.

Here’s another exchange from the same interview, this one around same-sex marriage:

Questions by blogger Joe Sudbay of AMERICABlog:

Q So I have another gay question. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: It’s okay, man. (Laughter.)

Q And this one is on the issue of marriage. Since you’ve become President, a lot has changed. More states have passed marriage equality laws. This summer a federal judge declared DOMA unconstitutional in two different cases. A judge in San Francisco declared Prop 8 was unconstitutional. And I know during the campaign you often said you thought marriage was the union between a man and a woman, and there — like I said, when you look at public opinion polling, it’s heading in the right direction. We’ve actually got Republicans like Ted Olson and even Ken Mehlman on our side now. So I just really want to know what is your position on same-sex marriage?

THE PRESIDENT: Joe, I do not intend to make big news sitting here with the five of you, as wonderful as you guys are. (Laughter.) But I’ll say this —

Q I just want to say, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you this question.

THE PRESIDENT: Of course.

Q People in our community are really desperate to know.

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s a fair question to ask. I think that — I am a strong supporter of civil unions. As you say, I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.

But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.

And I care about them deeply. And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. That’s probably the best you’ll do out of me today. (Laughter.)

Q It is an important issue, and I think that —

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s an entirely fair question to ask.

Q And part of it is that you can’t be equal in this country if the very core of who you are as a person and the love — the person you love is not — if that relationship isn’t the same as everybody else’s, then we’re not equal. And I think that a lot of — particularly in the wake of the California election on Prop 8, a lot of gay people realized we’re not equal. And I think that that’s — that’s been part of the change in the —

THE PRESIDENT: Prop 8, which I opposed.

Q Right. I remember you did. You sent the letter and that was great. I think that the level of intensity in the LGBT community changed after we lost rights in that election. And I think that’s a lot of where the community is right now.

THE PRESIDENT: The one thing I will say today is I think it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going.

Q The arc of history.

THE PRESIDENT: The arc of history.

Cynics will say that he’s just pandering to the gay left, trying to get them to support him without actually taking concrete steps… but personally, I’m optimistic. I still think this President has done more for the LGBT community than any other in history, and we’ve got another 2 (6?) years to go.

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