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.”
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."
"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."
SANTORUM RESPONDS TO OBAMA'S CAPITULATION ON MARRIAGE
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.
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
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."
"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."
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: www.hrc.org/resources/entry/state-constitutional-marriage-bans.
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.