Obama: Gay Marriage Laws Should Be Mandatory

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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All 50 states should be forced by the Supreme Court to have marriage laws that endorse same-sex couples, President Barack Obama told Buzzfeed.

The directive marks another phase in Obama’s progressive shift on marriage, which has included declarations of public opposition in 2008, and declarations of support for federalism in 2012 to a demand for centralized laws in 2015.

Courts and voters have changed marriage laws in many states, so “having hit a critical mass of states that have recognized same-sex marriage — it doesn’t make sense for us to now have this patchwork system,” Obama told Buzzfeed in an interview published Wednesday.

In 2012, he declared his personal support to single-sex marriage, but said the issue should be debated in the states.

“Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times,” he told ABC in May 2012. “I think that’s a healthy process and a healthy debate… 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,” he said.

In 2008, Obama declared religious opposition to any recognition of single-sex marriage. “Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix,” he told a campaign event at a church in California.

This month, his former campaign advisor said Obama’s pro-marriage statement in 2008 was a campaign-trail deception. (RELATED: Axelrod: Obama’s Lack Of Support For Gay Marriage In 2008 Was Political Bullsh*tting)

“Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,’” David Axelrod wrote in his new book, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.”

Obame said he was proud of his progressive post-2008 shift.

“I’m very proud of is to see how rapidly the country has shifted and maybe the small part that I’ve played, but certainly my Justice Department and others have played, in this administration, in getting to where we need to be,” he told Buzzfeed.

Obama’s rapid change from opposition to federalism to centralized enforcement matches the the critical shift by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kennedyused his swing-vote on the nine-judge court to forbid laws that stigmatize homosexuality in 2003, to allow state judges to require single-sex marriages in 2004, then to bar federal opposition to single-sex marriages in 2014.

Kennedy is widely expected this year to win a 5-4 majority on the court for a decision that bars state marriage laws that don’t endorse single-sex marriages.

Gays and lesbians are roughly 3 percent of the population. Their advocacy groups, however, have created the idea of samr-sex marriage to help raise the status of single-sex relationships in a society that is shaped by parents’ vital, expensive and risky role of childrearing.

There are now roughly 80,000 single-sex marriages amid 61 million traditional marriages, including 24 million married childrearing couples.

The number of married gay couples is less than 0.004 percent of all married, child-rearing heterosexual couples.

Marriage supporters say the institution has evolved to help bind parents to their dependent children, and say that large-scale scientific studies show children do better when raised by their married parents.

Public opinion has shifted towards single-sex marriages. For example, a January to February 2015 poll by AP shows that the country is evenly split, 48 percent to 48 percent, on whether the court should change marriage laws nationwide.

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