Obama on Marriage: “Attitudes Evolve, Including Mine”

Posted by Kerry Eleveld on advocate.com:

"When it comes to the freedom to marry, President Barack Obama acknowledged Wednesday that 'attitudes evolve, including mine' during an interview with five progressive bloggers.

"The president, who had not taken a single question from a representative of the LGBT media since being elected, was asked by Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlog.com and Gay.AmericaBlog.com about marriage equality, the constitutionality of 'don’t ask, don’t tell,' and his legislative strategy for ending the policy during the nearly hour-long sit-down.

"On the question of marriage, President Obama began by clarifying that he wasn’t going to 'make big news' at that particular moment. But his answer gave the first indication that he might be rethinking what has so far been his unremitting support for civil unions ever since adopting that stance during his 2004 U.S. Senate bid.

“'I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to marriage for same-sex couples primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage,' he said. '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.'

"Sudbay — who along with AmericaBlog founder John Aravosis avidly supported Obama on the blog during both the primary and general elections in 2008 — began his questioning by relaying a sense of dissatisfaction among gay Americans over the lack of progress on LGBT issues under Obama’s watch.

... “'I guess my attitude is that we have been as vocal, as supportive of the LGBT community as any president in history. I’ve appointed more openly gay people to more positions in this government than any president in history. We have moved forward on a whole range of issues that were directly under my control, including, for example, hospital visitation,' Obama said, adding that he had been 'systematic and methodical' in trying to achieve DADT repeal given the 'legal constraints.'

“'And so, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think that the disillusionment is justified,' he concluded."

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