US President Barack Obama this week made history when he became the first sitting American president to openly support gay marriage.
Obama told America’s ABC, “Over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbours, 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’s stance has evolved somewhat over the years and, when he stood for election as a Presidential candidate in 2008, he was against same-sex marriage, but supported civil unions.
“I had hesitated on gay marriage, ” he said, “in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient… And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word ‘marriage’ was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.”
Though Obama has said legislative changes will be left for the US states to handle, his unequivocal comments are being taken as the very first sign of change being in the wind when it comes to the possibility of the same-sex couples in the US being able to marry.