1. Obama in 1996: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
2. Obama in 2004: “My religious faith dictates marriage is between a man and a woman, gay marriage is not a civil right.”
3. Obama in 2008: “I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman. As a Christian it’s also a sacred union.”
4. Obama in 2008: “I support civil unions.”
5. Obama in 2010: “My feelings about [same-sex marriage] are constantly evolving. I struggle with this.”
6. Obama in 2011: “I’m still working on [my views on same-sex marriage].”
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’ve said your position is evolving. You said you’re struggling with it. What more do you need to know?
PRESIDENT OBAMA“Well, you know, I probably won’t make news right now, George. But I think that there’s no doubt that as I see friends, families children of gay couples who are thriving, you know, that has an impact on how I think about these issues. It’s also one of the reasons that I made the decision for us not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which I believe violated the Constitution and is going to be decided in the courts probably in the next few terms.”
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You think you’ll change your mind before the election?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know— I— I’m— I’m— still working on it.
7. Obama in 2012: “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.”
8. Obama in 2013: “The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts.”
I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.
So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.
On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.
The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.