Obama on Marriage: "Attitudes Evolve, Including Mine"



When it comes to same-sex marriage, 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 same-sex marriage, 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 same-sex marriage 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.

“You know, there is a certain amount of disillusionment and disappointment in our community right now,” he said, “and one of the things I’d like to ask you — and I think it’s a simple yes or no question too — is do you think that 'don’t ask, don’t tell' is unconstitutional?"

The president reiterated that he believes the policy is “wrong” and harms national security but declined to give his personal view on the constitutionality of the law, which is currently being defended by his Department of Justice.

“It’s not a simple yes or no question,” said Obama, “because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as president of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head.”

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