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President Obama: Same-sex couples should be able to get married

President Barack Obama waves as he deplanes Air Force One. (Andrew Leonard / CALIFORNIA BEAT)

(5/9) — 1255 PDT — WASHINGTON — In a television interview with ABC News, President Obama said he believes same-sex couples should be able to get married, becoming the first sitting American President to support gay marriage.

The historic announcement reversed Obama’s long-standing support of civil unions — but not marriage — for same-sex couples.

 

“I’ve always believed gay and lesbian Americans should be treated equally,” he told ABC News interviewer Robin Roberts. “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.”

Excerpts of the interview were published online  by the network Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” Obama said in the interview. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation that they believe in equality.”

Obama said he believes states should be able to individually decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage. His position places the President firmly against Republican Presidential rival Mitt Romney’s stance on the controversial social issue.

Romney, the presumptive Presidential nominee for the GOP, said he is against extending marriage to same-sex couples and supports a U.S. Constitutional amendment banning the practice.

The California Beat Capitol Hill news service contributed reporting to this story. Contact the Beat at news@californiabeat.org.

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