equal rites

Obama Now Thinks Same-Sex Marriage Is a Constitutional Right

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 08: Gay pride participants hold signs in support of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama (D-IL) at the 38th annual LA Pride Parade June 8, 2008 in West Hollywood, California. California gay people are looking forward to the opportunity to legally marry, starting June 17. The California Supreme Court refused to stay its decision legalizing same-sex marriage though conservative and religious opponents called for the court to stop same-sex couples from marrying before their initiative to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage goes to ballot in November. Some county clerks, including those of Kern, Merced, and Kings Counties, are reportedly threatening to refuse to perform all marriage ceremonies in opposition to the same-sex marriage decision. The parade is expected to draw more than 400,000 people. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Photo: David McNew/2008 Getty Images

In an interview with The New Yorker, President Obama offered an update on his constantly evolving position on gay marriage. Obama did not openly support marriage equality until May 2012, and at the time he said the issue should be “worked out at the local level.” However, the president told Jeffrey Toobin, “Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states.”

The Obama administration has yet to make this argument before the Supreme Court, and for now the president seems fine with the incremental approach. Surprisingly, he cited the Supreme Court’s recent decision not to take up the issue, which let stand rulings allowing gay marriage in several states, as the best ruling handed down during his time in office.

As you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare,” the president said. “And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.” He’s really a big fan of the long game when it comes to gay marriage.

Obama: Gay Marriage Is a Constitutional Right