Last night, North Carolina passed Amendment 1: a measure defining marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman, and banning civil unions and domestic partnerships. The last time the state’s residents voted on a marriage-based provision to be added into their constitution, it called for the banning of interracial marriages (and was only repealed because of the 1967 United States Supreme Court civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia).
The passing of Amendment 1 was disheartening news felt across America, but it was also the catalyst for our President to go on record stating that he supports gay marriage.
In an interview with NBC News’ Robin Roberts, Obama said the following:
I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, 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.
What happens now is anyone’s guess, but it should be noted that President Obama is the first American president to affirm his beliefs in plain language — and on national television. This is a wonderful jumping off point; an opportunity for words to become actions. Equal rights may just become available to all Americans in our lifetime. Hooray!