Wednesday 9 May 2012

Barack Obama comes out for Equal Marriage

Earlier this evening Barack Obama said:

"At a certain point I just concluded, 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

"I had hesitated on gay marriage, in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient … something that would give people hospital visitation rights and other elements we take for granted. And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word marriage was something that evokes powerful traditions, religious beliefs, and so forth.

"I have to tell you that over the course of several years, as I talked to friends, and family and neighbours, when I think about members of my own staff who are incredibly committed, monogamous relations, same-sex relations, who are raising kids together, when I think of the soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors who out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained even now though 'don't ask, don't tell' has gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage."

This is an historic day. This is the first time that a President and also a Presidential Candidate with a chance of winning election in the November elections has come out so emphatically in support of equal marriage.

What is stunning is that he said above that he came to realisation that merely given all the equal rights through a civil union wasn't enough. It was the fact that even in that they would been seen as equal but different. This is just the argument why equal marriage is needed here in the UK.

We tried the half way approach. Give the lesbians and gays something that is sort of equal but that we call something different. This approach allows discrimination to still continue through a subtle wording. It suggests that LGBT people cannot be monogamous that they only have to have a legal contract to secure certain things.

The word is important as it resonates equality. I'm glad that President Obama has said this so clearly this evening.

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