May 9, 2012. Mark that on your calendars as the day Barack Obama became the first sitting American President to support gay marriage.
It has taken him over a decade to decide on this issue (watch the evolution here), as Obama started off by saying he was against gay marriage in 2004 because when heterosexuals marry, they “are performing something before God”—and marriage itself isn’t a right, anyway.”
That stance slowly changed over the years and he has been known to say the he was struggling with the issue, whilst providing answers that were neither here nor there.
Today, it’s a different story all together. Obama put his foot down and gave a strong firm answer as to his thoughts on gay marriage.
“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,” he said in an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News.
“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.”
Administration officials said that Michelle Obama was a strong influence, going out of her way to invite gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples to events she sponsored for military families.
Celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyra Banks have stepped out and praised the President for his bold move.
While this historical endorsement is drawing praises and support from what is perceived as the ‘majority’ of voices on the Internet, this could come at a cost for Obama in the next election as there are still 30 states in the US that are opposed to same sex marriage.
There are opinions that Obama is merely doing this to gain the ‘popular’ vote, as well as to receive monetary funding for his campaign from LGBT donors who are thrilled with this development. Whatever the reason, many are rejoicing and celebrating this historic event.
While this milestone for the gay rights movement might not be official yet, one thing’s for certain; it is indeed one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.