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.
It’s interesting, some of this is also generational. 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, 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.
I admit, I’m a bit surprised to see him do this before the election (although perhaps he was cornered by Biden’s recent statement of support for SSM). Also, he’s still saying that this should be an issue decided by each individual state, not by the Federal government (a view I agree with, but only because I think it’s strategically the best approach for now).
Although the fight will continue mostly unchanged, this is still a landmark in the history of lgbt rights. Someone on my twitter feed (can’t find it now, so paraphrasing) wrote, “for the first time in my life, I have a President who thinks I should be fully equal.” That’s valuable. As David said in another context, we’re a bit more American today than we were yesterday.