He says his Christian beliefs, Golden Rule, weighed into decision
By Mark Ellis
The “evolution” in President Obama’s beliefs about homosexual marriage is now complete. In a sit-down interview this afternoon in the oval office, he told ABC’s Robin Roberts he now affirms same-sex marriage, reversing his former opposition amid pressure from his political base.
“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,” President Obama told Roberts, in an interview that will air on “Good Morning America” Thursday morning.
Excerpts of the interview will also air tonight on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.”
The president stated this is a personal position, and he will support states deciding the issue themselves. 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, according to ABC.
“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, sexual orientation that they 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.”
President Obama stated his Christian faith weighed into the mix, saying the Golden Rule was most important in his decision-making.
“We are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think 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.”
He said Michelle played an active role in his decision. “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. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people.”
Obama had come close to supporting homosexual marriage but had always stopped short of backing it, due to political concerns.
The announcement completed a turnaround for President Obama, who opposed homosexual marriage throughout his career in politics. In 1996, as a state Senate candidate, he indicated support for gay marriage in a questionnaire, but Obama aides later disavowed it and said it did not reflect his position, according to ABC.
As president in 2010, Obama told ABC’s Jake Tapper that his feelings about gay marriage were “constantly evolving. I struggle with this.” A year later, the president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “I’m still working on it.”
When candidate Obama ran for president, he told Pastor Rick Warren that marriage should be between one man and one woman.