President Obama Announces Support of Gay Marriage
On May 9, 2012 President Barack Obama came out in support of gay marriage in an interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts.
  A couple of events preceded the announcement.  First, Vice President Joe Biden's response to a question on the issue during an appearance on NBC News' "Meet the Press" on May 6 sort of boxed Obama in.  At that point his views were said to be "evolving," which was somewhat awkward.  Then, on May 8, North Carolina voters approved Amendment One ("Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State") by a 61% to 39% margin.

Excerpt from President Obama's interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts

Well-- you know, I have to tell you, as I've said, I've-- I've been going through an evolution on this issue. I've always been adamant that-- gay and lesbian-- Americans should be treated fairly and equally. And that's why in addition to everything we've done in this administration, rolling back Don't Ask, Don't Tell-- so that-- you know, outstanding Americans can serve our country. Whether it's no longer defending the Defense Against Marriage Act, which-- tried to federalize-- what is historically been state law. I've stood on the side of broader equality for-- the L.G.B.T. community. And I had hesitated on gay marriage-- in part, because I thought civil unions would be sufficient. That that was something that would give people hospital visitation rights and-- other-- elements that we take for granted. And-- I was sensitive to the fact that-- for a lot of people, you know, the-- the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs, and so forth. But I have to tell you that over the course of-- several years, as I talk to friends and family and neighbors. When I think about-- members of my own staff who are incredibly committed, in 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're 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. Now-- I have to tell you that part of my hesitation on this has also been I didn't want to nationalize the issue. There's a tendency when I weigh in to think suddenly it becomes political and it becomes polarized. And what you're seeing is, I think, states working through this issue-- in fits and starts, all across the country. Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what's recognized as a marriage.

reactions to Obama's announcement...
Human Rights Campaign
President Obama Supports Full Marriage Equality

President Barack Obama has just announced his support for full marriage equality.

The President's remarks will air in an ABC News interview with Robin Roberts later this evening.

Join HRC in thanking President Obama for his support.

HRC President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement in response to this historic development:

“Today, President Obama made history by boldly stating that gay and lesbian Americans should be fully and equally part of the fabric of American society and that our families deserve nothing less than the equal respect and recognition that comes through marriage. 

“His presidency has shown that our nation can move beyond its shameful history of discrimination and injustice. In him, millions of young Americans have seen that their futures will not be limited by what makes them different. In supporting marriage equality, President Obama extends that message of hope to a generation of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, helping them understand that they too can be who they are and flourish as part of the American community. And his words remind gay and lesbian families across the country, who, like their neighbors, struggle to afford healthcare and college for their kids, pay their taxes and plan for retirement –but with the added burden of discrimination— that they do not face those challenges alone and unheard. 

“Americans fundamentally believe in fairness, but many, like the President, have struggled to reconcile that core belief and the question of marriage equality. The President’s words will no doubt inspire thousands more conversations around kitchen tables and in church pews.  We are confident that our nation will continue to move inexorably toward equality and we thank the President for so boldly leading us in that direction.”   

Incoming HRC President Chad Griffin joined Solmonese in praising the President's support:

“President Obama’s words today will be celebrated by generations to come. For the millions of young gay and lesbian Americans across this nation, President Obama’s words provide genuine hope that they will be the first generation to grow up with the freedom to fully pursue the American dream. Marriage—the promise of love, companionship, and family—is basic to the pursuit of that dream. Our Constitution’s promise, the promise of liberty, is one that every generation must realize. As President Obama recognized today, the fight to secure marriage equality is the defining element of our generation’s search for greater freedom.”

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: President Obama’s evolution on marriage ‘now complete’

WASHINGTON, May 9 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responds to President Obama’s history-making comments today supporting marriage for same-sex couples. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been urging the president to join the millions of Americans who already support marriage equality.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“President Obama’s ‘evolution’ is now complete. Congratulations, Mr. President, for making history today by becoming the first sitting president to explicitly support marriage for same-sex couples. Who benefits? Millions of families who now know that their country’s leader believes in fairness for all. This is a great day for America.

“We celebrate this moment and also remember that the right of loving, committed couples to get married is just one of many issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It is heartening to know the president stands with our families in the pursuit of full equality, economic security and justice.”
To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.


Family Research Council
Obama Ends Hypocrisy on Homosexual Unions; FRC Criticizes His Support for Redefining 'Marriage'

May 09, 2012

Washington, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) said today that President Barack Obama's endorsement of same-sex "marriage" is disappointing but not surprising.

In an interview with ABC News today, Mr. Obama announced that he now supports legalizing same-sex marriage. It was the second time in his career that Mr. Obama has appeared to reverse course on the issue. In 1996, as a candidate for the Illinois State Senate, Mr. Obama endorsed same-sex marriage. But since winning national office--first as a U.S. Senator, and then as President--Mr. Obama had said that such couples should have access to all the legal rights and benefits of marriage through "civil unions," but that "marriage" should remain defined as the union of a man and a woman.

FRC President Tony Perkins issued the following statement:

"The President's announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the law.

"As demonstrated by yesterday's overwhelming vote in North Carolina, redefining marriage remains outside the mainstream of American politics, especially in the critical battleground states and among minority voters. In North Carolina, the amendment received more than 60 percent of the vote in majority-black counties.

"Considering that ten of the sixteen battleground states have marriage amendments that could be overturned by the President's new policy position on marriage, today's announcement almost ensures that marriage will again be a major issue in the presidential election.

"The President has provided a clear contrast between him and his challenger Mitt Romney. Romney, who has signed a pledge to support a marriage protection amendment to the U.S. Constitution, may have been handed the key to social conservative support by President Obama."


National Organization for Marriage
NOM Promises Pro-Marriage Americans Will Defeat Obama This November For Abandoning Marriage

"President Obama has made the definition of marriage a defining issue in the presidential contest, especially in swing states...and we intend to win this marriage debate this November."—Brian Brown, NOM president—

WASHINGTON, D.C. — National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown responded today to the announcement by President Obama in support of redefining traditional marriage.

"President Obama has now made the definition of marriage a defining issue in the presidential contest, especially in swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Nevada. Voters in all these states, and over two dozen more, have adopted state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. President Obama says that although he personally supports gay marriage, he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. However, that is completely disingenuous. His administration is already trying to dismantle the nation's marriage laws by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. All the state marriage amendments and laws are at risk under a president who actively wants to change the definition of marriage. NOM will work ceaselessly in these swing states and across the nation to preserve traditional marriage because it is profoundly in the public good to do so. God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim. The definition of marriage was already headed for the ballot in four states this fall; now it will be one of the defining issues of the presidential election. No state in this country has ever voted for gay marriage. Just yesterday North Carolina voters sent a clear message that America wants to preserve marriage. We intend to win the marriage debate this November."


Log Cabin Republicans
Obama Announcement Is Cold Comfort to LGBT Americans

(Washington, DC) -- Log Cabin Republicans respond to President Barack Obama's latest evolution on the freedom to marry.
"That the president has chosen today, when LGBT Americans are mourning the passage of Amendment One, to finally speak up for marriage equality is offensive and callous," said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. "Log Cabin Republicans appreciate that President Obama has finally come in line with leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney on this issue, but LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch. This administration has manipulated LGBT families for political gain as much as anybody, and after his campaign's ridiculous contortions to deny support for marriage equality this week he does not deserve praise for an announcement that comes a day late and a dollar short."
# # #
Log Cabin Republicans is the only Republican organization dedicated to representing the interests of gay and lesbian Americans and their allies. The 30-year old organization has state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time office in Washington, DC, a federal political action committee and state political action committees.

Rick Santorum


Verona, PA - Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum made the following statement in response to President Barack Obama's announcement supporting the redefinition of marriage.


Rick Santorum said: "The announcement today by President Obama should come as no surprise to the American public.  President Obama has consistently fought against protecting the institution of marriage from radical social engineering at both the state and federal level.  The President recently opposed the North Carolina constitutional amendment and, of course, he refused to defend President Clinton's Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme court.  The charade is now over, no doubt an attempt to galvanize his core hard left supporters in advance of the November election.


Thankfully the American public, when it has had an opportunity to consider the real world consequences of such a fundamental change to our society, has consistently voted for maintaining one man one woman marriage - the basic building block of our society.  I will continue to fight to make sure that the cultural elites don't further undermine the institution that gives the best opportunity for healthy, happy children and a just and prosperous society." 



Fred Karger
May 9, 2012

Karger Statement on President Obama's Support for Marriage Equality

"I applaud President Obama for his strong statement and support for gay marriage today. We welcome him to the fight. He will be a great advocate as we do battle in four states this November.

His timing is particularly helpful in light of the loss we suffered yesterday in North Carolina.

It's nice to have another presidential candidate on board for full equality."

awkward "evolution"...

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" on May 6, 2012, Vice President Joe Biden responded to a question on the issue, stating in part:

I, I -- look, I am vice president of the United States of America.  The president sets the policy.  I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one other are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights , all the civil liberties.  And quite frankly I don't see much of a distinction beyond that.

From May 7, 2012 Briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:

Q    I have one more on a different subject.  This morning, the Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, put himself on record in favor of gay marriage.  Yesterday, the Vice President indicated something along the same lines.  Does this box the President in ahead of the election?  Have his views changed at all on this subject?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I have no update on the President's personal views.  What the Vice President said yesterday was to make the same point that the President has made previously, that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to roll back those rights.  That's why this administration opposes the Defense of Marriage Act and supports legislation to repeal it.  The administration also has stopped defending the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges.
Secretary Duncan was asked a question about his personal views on an issue and he offered them.  And obviously this is an issue that many people have a view on and we respect the right of all people to have an opinion -- a personal opinion.

Q    If asked at this point a similar question for his personal view, would the President give it?

MR. CARNEY:  I think the President is the right person to describe his own personal views.  He, as you know, said that his views on this were evolving, and I don't have an update for you on that.

From the Gary Johnson campaign:

Contact: Joe Hunter

May 9, 2012, Santa Fe, NM – Libertarian nominee for President and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson today called for the Obama Administration to "make up its mind” when it comes to supporting marriage equality for all Americans, citing Vice-President Biden’s weekend comments appearing to support gay marriage and White House efforts since to clarify those comments. 

Johnson, who supports gay marriage equality, received the Libertarian Party nomination for President Saturday, and will be on the ballot in all 50 states. "The President is playing cruel, cynical politics with a deeply personal issue for many Americans," said Johnson. "He should quit trying to have it both ways and take a stand." 

In a statement released Wednesday, Johnson said, “Gay marriage equality is not a trick question, and we shouldn’t be getting trick answers from the President of the United States. Gay Americans deserve better than a President who winks and nods and tries to convince them that he will protect their rights, but refuses to emerge from the closet and support one of the most basic rights – the right to  equal access to marriage.  And frankly, even opponents of gay marriage deserve the truth from the White House.  Is the President for it or against it? Right now, the Administration is trying to have it both ways"  
“For a few brief minutes over the weekend, supporters of marriage equality were given a glimmer of hope when the Vice-President expressed ‘comfort’ with gay marriage.  I’m sure the White House was delighted to offer that glimmer.  But within hours, they were walking it back.  And Monday, President Obama sends his spokesperson out to say there is no ‘update’ of the President’s position that marriage is between a man and a woman, but repeats that Obama opposes ‘efforts to repeal rights for same-sex couples’.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what that means and I suspect no one else does either,” Johnson said.  “We have a President saying he won’t support marriage equality, but if it somehow becomes legal, he won’t support repealing it? And a Vice-President saying he’s ‘comfortable’ with it?  That is not leadership. That is politics, and on such a deeply personal issue for many Americans, it is cruel politics.

“Government exists to protect civil liberties and constitutional rights – not to pick and choose among those Americans who should have those rights.  Denying same-sex couples the right to marry under the law is government-sanctioned discrimination.  Unlike President Obama, I am not afraid to state, without a wink or a nod, that the government has no right to tell us who we can marry or not marry.


reactions to vote  for Amendment One in North Carolina...
Family Research Council

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller
FRC Applauds North Carolina Voters for Preserving Marriage
May 08, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement in response to North Carolina's adoption of an amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman:

"We applaud North Carolina voters for joining voters in 31 other states in upholding the historic and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It has been our privilege to work with our allies at the North Carolina Values Coalition, North Carolina Family Policy Council, and pastors and priests across the state to get this issue placed on the ballot and campaign for its passage.

"At every opportunity, the American people have demonstrated a deep appreciation for the unique benefits that marriage between a man and a woman brings to families and society. They recognize that marriage is the only kind of union that results in natural procreation and keeps a mother and father together to raise the children produced by their union.

"This overwhelming support for marriage is clearly the reason why President Obama and liberal congressional candidates across the country have not expressed open support for same-sex marriage. They know that redefining marriage remains a losing position in mainstream American politics.

"Despite the relentless lawsuits and attempts to marginalize supporters of traditional marriage, a clear majority of the American people have not given up on standing in support of marriage - but instead the evidence suggests they want to see it strengthened and preserved for future generations," concluded Perkins.


NOM Commends North Carolina Voters for Overwhelming Vote in Favor Of Marriage Protection Amendment

"So much for the idea that same-sex marriage is inevitable. Just the other day, gay advocates were predicting victory in North Carolina, but instead marriage won an overwhelming victory." —Brian Brown, NOM president—

Washington, D.C.—The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today commended North Carolina voters for making theirs the 31st state to enact a constitutional amendment defining marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman. The vote of more than 60% in favor of the amendment was an overwhelming endorsement of traditional marriage in this critical swing state.

"We commend North Carolina voters for passing the Marriage Protection Amendment, becoming the 31st state to adopt a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "So much for the idea being promulgated by the media and the elite that same-sex marriage is inevitable. Just the other day, gay activists were predicting victory in North Carolina, but instead marriage won an overwhelming victory."

NOM played a major role in the passage of the North Carolina marriage amendment. NOM contributed $425,000 directly to the campaign and raised countless additional funds for the effort. Brian Brown served on the campaign's Executive Committee and NOM National Political Director Frank Schubert managed the campaign through his firm, Mission Public Affairs.

"It should not go unnoticed that our position that marriage is between a man and a woman is gaining support, not losing support," said Brown. "Earlier this week the Gallup poll showed that support for same-sex marriage is down. Actual vote percentages in favor of traditional marriage are rising. In 2008 in California, the Prop 8 constitutional amendment on traditional marriage passed with 52% of the vote. Then in 2009 in Maine, 53% of voters stood for traditional marriage and rejected same-sex marriage legislation. In 2010, 56% of Iowa voters rejected three Supreme Court judges who had imposed gay marriage in that state. And now more than 60% of North Carolina voters have passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. There is a clear trend line, and it is moving in our direction."

North Carolina is the first of five states expected to vote on the definition of marriage this year. Others include Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

"We are at the beginning of a national campaign in support of defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Brown. "Marriage will be a major issue in swing states across the country, and will be directly on the ballot in four more states this fall. The victory in North Carolina is a wonderful beginning to what we believe will be a clean sweep of states this year. We look forward to this national campaign to send an unmistakable message that the American people believe in preserving our historic understanding of marriage."


Human Rights Campaign
With North Carolina Loss, Momentum Still in Direction of LGBT Equality
Despite disappointing vote, public opinion continues shift toward fairness


Washington – Tonight North Carolina’s discriminatory and overreaching Amendment One passed, banning marriage and other forms of relationship recognition for gays and lesbians.  The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, expressed disappointment in the vote, but characterized it as a temporary setback in the fight for equality.

“The passage of Amendment One is a heartbreaking loss for families in North Carolina, but will not stop us in the march toward full equality,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “As the country continues to move in the direction of marriage equality, our opponents have cynically interrupted the important conversations taking place which lead to increased understanding and acceptance.”

Support for these constitutional amendments has been dropping over the years as support for marriage equality continues to rise nationwide.  In 2004 similar amendments passed on average 71 percent to 29 percent.  In 2008, the margin shrank from 57 percent to 43 percent.  The average for these amendments in the South has been 75 percent to 25 percent.  More on the history of state constitutional marriage bans is at:

Prior to the vote, the May 1 PPP poll showed voters under age 30 opposed the amendment by 26 points and in addition, reports indicate that youth turnout was significantly high during the early voting period.  Tellingly, NC House Speaker Thom Tillis also recently said the issue was generational and that the amendment would be repealed in 20 years.

“Marriage is a tremendously motivating issue for younger voters, and we’ve seen an outpouring of energy against this amendment from youth,” said Solmonese.  “Elected officials would be wise to tap into this enthusiasm.”

The amendment, which made it to the ballot after Republicans took control of both houses of the state legislature in 2010, could strip legal protections and healthcare coverage from children, threaten basic protections that all unmarried couples rely on, and harm unmarried seniors.  Polling shows that when voters understood how far-reaching Amendment One was, they turned against it – but only 40 percent even knew the amendment banned civil unions. 

“Our opponents were unfortunately successful in masking the broad nature of this measure,” said Solmonese.  “Were it not for their lies, voters would have understood the harm that this amendment will inflict on thousands of North Carolina families and would have voted against it.”

HRC is proud to have been a founding member of the Coalition to Protect All NC Families and applauds all of the member organizations’ efforts against Amendment One.  HRC had staff on the ground for months leading a robust field, campus and faith outreach effort.  In cash and in-kind contributions including staff resources, HRC’s commitment to the campaign against Amendment One was nearly $500,000.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Amendment One passes in North Carolina

“North Carolina has wandered into treacherous terrain with Amendment One. For all the talk of bolstering families, this measure shamefully shoves them into harm’s way.”   — Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, May 8 — North Carolina voters have passed Amendment One, a constitutional amendment that limits legal unions to marriage between a man and woman and bans civil unions and domestic partnerships. Same-sex couples are already prohibited from marrying in North Carolina under state law. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force assisted the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families, the local campaign opposing Amendment One, with technical assistance, fundraising, social media outreach and get-out-the-vote efforts.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
“North Carolina has wandered into treacherous terrain with Amendment One. For all the talk of bolstering families, this measure shamefully shoves them into harm’s way.

“Blocking loving couples from forming legal unions like domestic partnerships, civil unions and marriage flies in the face of family values. Indeed, Amendment One defies what it means to be a family today. Many North Carolinians, including seniors, single women and children, could be placed in peril because the shrinking definition of family excludes them. Some might even be denied life-saving services like domestic violence protections. This is a brutal step backward for relationship recognition in North Carolina.

“We thank all the voters who rejected Amendment One. We stand in solidarity with them and the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families as they build on this effort to make North Carolina welcoming and safe for all.”

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.


Democratic National Committee
For Immediate Release
May 8, 2012

Contact: DNC Press

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Statement on Passage of Amendment One in North Carolina

Washington, D.C. – DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement today on the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina:

“The passage of Amendment One in North Carolina is very disappointing.  It unfairly singles out gay and lesbian Americans and is discriminatory.  I’m proud that President Obama opposed Amendment One, as he has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and legal protections that straight couples already enjoy.  

“While the passage of tonight’s amendment is disappointing, it does not erase the incredible progress that gay and lesbian couples have made under the President’s leadership.  From putting an end to the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts and endorsing legislation to repeal it, to making sure that same-sex couples have equal hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights and extending key benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, we have taken great strides forward.  

"The choice is clear. The President has fought on behalf of LGBT Americans while Mitt Romney has supported inequality and discrimination. Romney has said we should write discrimination and inequality into the Constitution, and he has funded efforts in states that have adopted marriage equality to roll back these rights.  On this and so many other issues, Romney, like Amendment One, would take us in the wrong direction.”