Obama: Yes, I can (and do) support gay marriage

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – It was a long time coming, but Barack Obama finally allowed his “evolving” views to evolve, becoming the first sitting US president to come out officially in favour of gay marriage.

“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me
personally, it is important for me to affirm same-sex couples should be able to
get married,” Obama said in a May 9 interview with ABC News.

Obama’s evolution comes days after his vice-president, Joe
Biden, and his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, threw their unequivocal support behind same-sex marriage — and just five months after his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, delivered a 30-minute “gay rights are human rights” call to arms at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on the occasion of International

Human Rights Day. In 2011, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan also went public with his support of gay marriage.

The president’s record on gay rights has been strong, with
the dismantling of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; passage of hate crime legislation;
support for same-sex hospital visitation rights; and a halt to defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, but it seemed to be asterisked
because he would go only as far as supporting same-sex civil unions, not full
marriage rights.

“I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient, that that was something that would give people hospital visitation rights and other elements that we take for granted. And, I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that evokes powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth,” Obama said Wednesday.

Natasha Barsotti is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She had high aspirations of representing her country in Olympic Games sprint events, but after a while the firing of the starting gun proved too much for her nerves. So she went off to university instead. Her first professional love has always been journalism. After pursuing a Master of Journalism at UBC , she began freelancing at Xtra West — now Xtra Vancouver — in 2006, becoming a full-time reporter there in 2008.

Keep Reading

Job discrimination against trans and non-binary people is alive and well

OPINION: A study reveals that we have a long way to go to reach workplace equality for trans and non-binary people

The new generation of gay Conservative sellouts

OPINION: Melissa Lantsman’s and Eric Duncan’s refusals to call out their party’s transphobia is a betrayal of the LGBTQ2S+ community

Over 300 anti-LGBTQ2S+ bills have been introduced this year. This doesn’t mean we should panic

OPINION: While it’s important to watch out for threats, not all threats are created equally. Some of these bills will die a natural death

Xtra’s top LGBTQ2S+ stories of the year

The best and brightest—even most bewildering—stories from a back catalogue brimming with insight