President Barrack Obama showed his continuing support for marriage equality Wednesday (March 13) in an interview with ABC News.
George Stephanopoulos asked President Obama about his evolving stance on same-sex marriage, to which the President responded that there is no legal reason to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry.
“From a legal perspective, the bottom line is that gays have historically been discriminated against,” Obama told Stephanopoulos. “I do think that courts have to apply what’s called heightened scrutiny, where they take a careful look. If there’s any reason for gays and lesbians to be treated differently, boy, the government better…have a really good reason.”
Stephanopoulos asked the President if he could imagine a reason, to which Obama responded, “I cannot.”
Obama further implied that Proposition 8 supporters have yet to present a substantial argument for their case. The only reason presented for treating gays and lesbians differently was, “Well, they’re gay and lesbian,” he said. “There wasn’t a real rationale beyond that.”
Obama found such arguments unconvincing since “all the other rights and responsibilities of a civil union were identical to marriage.”
He also went on to address people who object to using the term “marriage” to describe gay and lesbian unions.
Appealing to the country’s sense of American values, the President said,“What you’re really saying is ‘we’re just gonna treat these folks differently because of who they are,’ and I do not think that’s who we are as Americans and frankly, I think American attitudes have evolved, just like mine have, pretty substantially and fairly quickly, and I think that’s a good thing.”
Stephanopoulos pointed out that the President said only last spring that marriage is a state’s issue rather than a constitutional right.
“What I also believe is that the core principle is that people don’t get discriminated against,” Obama responded. “That’s one of our core values. And it’s in our constitution.”
The Obama administration has filed an amicus brief in support of overturning Prop 8 and DOMA to the Supreme Court, which is expected to hear cases later this month.