Looking Back: Obama’s Evolution On Same-Sex Marriage Through the Years

I don’t think marriage is a civil right. What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman… performing something before God, and it’s not simply the two persons who are meeting. That doesn’t mean that that necessarily translates into a position on public policy or with respect to civil unions. What it does mean is that we have a set of traditions in place that, I think, need to be preserved, but I also think we need to make sure that gays and lesbians have the same set of basic rights that are in place.”

—talking about his opposition to same-sex marriage, on Chicago public television in 2004.