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In an MTV interview on Friday, President Obama discussed how the struggle for marriage equality would play out in his second term (God willing). The President kept to his states-rights argument but predicted the Supreme Court would soon rule the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans legally married gay couples from receiving federal recognition, was unconstitutional.
Historically, marriages have been defined at the state level. And there’s a conversation going on… there’s some states that are still having the debate. And I think for us to try to legislate federally into this is probably the wrong way to go,
The courts are going to be examining these issues. I’ve stood up and said I’m opposed to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act… I’ve said that’s wrong. There are a couple of cases that are working their way through the courts, and my expectation is that Defense of Marriage Act will be overturned. But, ultimately, I believe that if we have that conversation at the state level, the evolution that’s taking place in this country will get us to a place where we are going to be recognizing everybody fairly.
I’m very proud of that fact that as president I’ve got a track record of not just talking the talk on this, but walking the walk: ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, making sure that federal employees are treated equally when it comes to their partners and I’m going to keep pushing as hard as I can.
Is there really a cogent argument here? Imagine if Loving v. Virginia meant interracial couples could receive federal benefits but could still be discriminated against on the state level.
At least one member of the audience at the “Ask Obama” event at Georgetown University didn’t see the President’s logic. Tucker, a student in Washington State, said:
“I love having a president in the White House who can go on MTV and say that he thinks gay and lesbian people should get married… But the fact is, it’s been four years and the Defense of Marriage Act is still on the books, and I don’t think the conversation should be left to the states. I believe in evolution too, but I believe there’s a right answer to that question, and we need to take it farther.”
What’s your takeaway? Weigh in with your opinion in the comments section.