In historic move, President Barack Obama joins a majority of Americans in support of marriage equality

May 9, 2012

Seth Adam
Senior Manager of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8018

New York, NY, May 9, 2012 – GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today responded to President Barack Obama’s historic announcement in support of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.

“The arc of history today bent a little closer to equality for every American,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “After hearing the stories of countless couples and families, President Obama has drawn the same conclusion shared across party lines and by a majority of Americans today: everyone deserves the opportunity to marry the person they love. As our nation draws closer to a more perfect union in which every person is created equal, we are left deeply encouraged by this truly watershed moment.”

In an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts today, President Obama stated:

"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

President Obama’s landmark announcement comes just days after Vice President Joe Biden told NBC’s Meet the Press that he was ‘absolutely comfortable’ with equal marriage protections for gay and lesbian couples, and just hours after voters in North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment – known as Amendment One – that will change the state’s constitution to recognize only married straight couples; bans civil unions; and eliminates health care, prescription drug coverage and other benefits for public employees and children receiving domestic partner benefits. In a written statement on Tuesday, the president said he was “disappointed” in the passage of the amendment.

A new Gallup poll released Tuesday finds that for the second time in the organization’s history, half of Americans support marriage equality. That poll is available here:

Other recent polls that reflect growing support of marriage equality include:

•       A Quinnipiac University poll found that 59% of respondents oppose federal legislation that denies eligibility for federal benefits to gay and lesbian spouses.
•       A Public Religion Research Institute poll that found 51% support legal marriage for lesbian and gay couples.
•       An ABC News and Washington Post poll that found 51% of respondents said they thought marriage equality should be legal, a 17 percentage-point increase from the 2006 polling results.
•       A CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation poll that showed 51% of respondents were in favor of legal recognition for marriages for gay and lesbian couples.