Obama finally takes a side on the ‘generational’ issue of same-sex marriage

Obama on ABC. ()
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President Obama told ABC News today that "same-sex marriage" should be legal.

"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 "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts.

The hastily arranged afternoon interview comes three days after Vice President Joe Biden interrupted the president's quietly "evolving" stance on the issue with his own enthusiastic endorsement for the rights of same-sex couples.

That forced the White House to bat back a litany of questions about the president's precise posture on the issue, and led to charges from some Republicans, including former New York governor George Pataki, that Obama was concealing his true position.

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The president called the issue "generational," and illustrated the point by describing conversations around the dinner table with his two daughters.

“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.”

Obama said the first lady was also supportive of his new position.

“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," he said. "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 and, I, you know, 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.”