Obama Denies States' Rights Concerning Gay Marriage, Advocates Guaranteed Protection in All Fifty States

( [email protected] ) Oct 23, 2014 01:47 PM EDT
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama. Photo: Associated Press

In a recent interview with The New Yorker, President Barack Obama stated that his previous stance on individual states' rights concerning marriage equality was wrong, and he now believes that same-sex marriage is protected in all fifty states by the U.S. Constitution.

When asked by writer Jeffrey Toobin to pick his best Supreme Court decision of his career, the president chose the silence of the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage.

"In some ways, the decision that was just handed down to not do anything about what states are doing on same-sex marriage may end up being as consequential - from my perspective, a positive sense - as anything that's been done," Obama said.

"Because I think it really signals that although the Court was not quite ready - it didn't have sufficient votes to follow Loving v. Virginia (the 1967 court decision ruling that states could no longer ban interracial marriage) and go ahead and indicate an equal-protection right across the board - it was a consequential and powerful signal of the changes that have taken place in society and that the law is having to catch up," he continued.

In 2008, Obama first stated his stance on gay marriage while running for president at the Saddleback Presidential Forum. "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. 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 even went on to say that he was not in favor of gay marriage in an interview with MTV during that same year.

But the president's stance has since changed to acceptance of same-sex marriage, as he stated in an 2012 interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News. This most recent change of heart marks an even further stray from his original beliefs trotted out during his presidential campaign.

"Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states," the president stated in the Toobin interview.

"And what you're seeing is, I think, states working through this issue - in fits and starts, all across the country," he continues. "Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that 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."