President Barack Obama explained his
gay marriage stance during an appearance Monday on ABC's The View.
Seated on the show's couch, Barbara
Walters asked Obama whether he would seek federal legislation
granting gay people equal rights.
“Well keep in mind that, on issues
like Social Security for example, a lot of this has to do with what
is called the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA. It was passed
originally when Hawaii started making noises about recognizing
same-sex marriage. The idea was we don't want that drifting in to
the federal government. And this is part of the reason my justice
department has said to the courts, 'We don't think the Defense of
Marriage Act is constitutional.'”
Obama explained that he decided to
embrace marriage over civil unions partly over federal benefits
currently denied to gay couples.
“Part of it was also though just
knowing friends and family, people that I had gotten to know, who had
these wonderful relationships and they'd say to me, 'You know what,
the words matter. So even though you're a strong supporter of civil
unions, somehow it still says we're different.'” (The video is
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