News / USA

    Obama Backs Same-Sex Marriage

    THE WHITE HOUSE - In a major reversal of his position on a controversial issue in a U.S. presidential election year, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that same-sex marriage should be legal. 

     
    President Obama's stance opposing homosexual marriage, which he had described as "evolving," was a sore point for the country's gay and lesbian community, which helped elect him in 2008.
    Mr. Obama has always supported efforts to ensure the same legal rights and civil liberties for gay couples as married straight couples.  But his opposition to same-sex marriage was thrust back to the spotlight after Vice President Joe Biden told NBC television's "Meet the Press" program on Sunday that he was "absolutely comfortable" with gay marriage.
     
    Two other administration officials, including Mr. Obama's education secretary, also voiced their support for same-sex marriage.
     
    In a hastily-arranged interview on Wednesday with ABC News, Mr. Obama said an "evolution" in his thinking led him to the decision, influenced by conversations with his staff, gay and lesbian members of the U.S. military and his family. "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," he said. 
     
    Mr. Obama pointed to his success in ending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy barring openly gay persons from serving in the military, and his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and woman.  The president said he has always fought for the rights of gays and lesbians.
     
    "I have always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally," he said. 
     
    Mr. Obama stressed that although his personal view on gay marriage has changed, he still supports the right of individual U.S. states to decide the marriage issue.
     
    Analysts say the president's reversal probably will benefit his campaign for reelection against likely Republican Party nominee Mitt Romney.  Mr. Obama received substantial support from the nation's gay and lesbian community in 2008.
     
    But the president and his campaign have had to gauge possible negatives of his new position, including the potential loss of support in relatively conservative states and among conservative ethnic minority voters.  In the political swing state of North Carolina, voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional ban on homosexual marriage on Tuesday.  Mr. Obama won North Carolina in 2008.
     
    According to a recent Gallup public opinion survey, 50 percent of American believe that same-sex marriages should be recognized by law; 48 percent of those surveyed said such marriages should not be legal.
     
    Mr. Obama is the first sitting president to explicitly support marriage for same-sex couples.  Organizations representing gay Americans and many political leaders have hailed his decision.
     
    The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, accused Mr. Obama of playing politics with gay marriage, saying that Republicans have not changed their position on the issue. 
     

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora