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05/09/2012

A (theoretical) transcript from an (ideal) interview.

by Jeremy Hooper

Today, President Barack Obama will sit down the ABC News' Robin Roberts. Here is my vision of the future, on a day when so many of us could use a powerful voice of support.

Screen Shot 2012-05-09 At 1.13.21 Pm

ROBIN ROBERTS: Mr. President, this past week we've seen and head considerable developments on the gay marriage front

Screen Shot 2012-05-09 At 1.13.00 Pm


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Oh? I hadn't heard [laughs]


Screen Shot 2012-05-09 At 1.12.50 PmROBERTS: Well, many other people did [laugh]. First, Vice President Biden shared what seemed to be his own personal evolution on the subject, and then, a day later, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan voiced his unequivocal support for equal rights for same-sex couples. You have long stated that you support equal rights for gay couples but not gay marriage—yet you've also said your views are evolving. So I have to ask, Mr. President: Have your views evolved?

Screen Shot 2012-05-09 At 1.12.31 PmPRESIDENT: Well. Robin. It's like this. I have always maintained that all couples—all Americans, in fact—deserve to be treated fairly. Deserve to be treated with respect. Deserve to have their rights and families protected, the way all of us would like them to be. And I think my Administration has made considerable strides towards this end.

The reason I have expressed reluctance to voice my full-throated support for equal marriage rights is because I understand that this is a subject filled with heightened sensitivities on both sides, as well as deep religious attachment for many. Including me, in fact. As a Christian, I got married in a church and I consider God to be in the mix of my own marriage. I respect the differing views on this subject and understand the civil and religious aspects.

Now, one thing that I do not support is when the religious view steps on the civil component. Every church, ever preacher, ever faith leader in this country has the right to determine who they will marry, how they will use their church facilities in regards to marriage, and so on. But religious freedom also means respecting people's right to believe as they wish. Many people from all faiths, as well as from no faith at all, support the right of same-sex couples to enter into loving civil unions—by which I mean fully recognized civil marriages—just as many couples currently are in a number of our states. After careful consideration, I have arrived at a place where I am comfortable supporting this as well.

Screen Shot 2012-05-09 At 1.31.38 Pm ROBERTS: So to be clear, you are saying you now support equal marriage rights for gay couples?

PRESIDENT: I am. And I do.

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*UPDATE: I'm thrilled to report that the actuality was better than I predicted!

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