Barack Obama granted a photo shoot and interview to the prominent LGBT publication — the first sitting president ever to do so. (Out magazine)
When Barack Obama was sworn in as president in 2009, gay marriage was legal in just two states, and Obama had yet to come out in support of same-sex unions. Fast-forward six years, same-sex marriage is legal nationwide — thanks to the Supreme Court’s historic decision in June — and Obama is on the cover of Out magazine as its “Ally of the Year.”
The president, who publicly expressed his support for gay marriage four years ago, said his administration’s focus on LGBT equality can be traced back to his childhood.
“My mom instilled in me the strong belief that every person is of equal worth,” Obama told Out. “At the same time, growing up as a black guy with a funny name, I was often reminded of exactly what it felt like to be on the outside. One of the reasons I got involved in politics was to help deliver on our promise that we’re all created equal and that no one should be excluded from the American dream just because of who they are.”
Obama also recalled a gay professor who “went out of his way to advise lesbian, gay and transgender students” when he was a freshman at Occidental College.
“Keep in mind, this was 1978,” Obama said. “That took a lot of courage.”
The president said the Supreme Court’s ruling reflected “a remarkable attitude shift — in hearts and minds — across America.”
“I wasn’t surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision,” he added. “But like millions of Americans, I was proud and happy that it came down the way it did. And I was honored to stand in the Rose Garden and reiterate for every American that we are strongest, that we are most free, when all of us are treated equally. I was proud to say that love is love.”
Obama was also asked what advice he’d give to people like Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“I am a man of faith and believe deeply in religious freedom,” Obama said, “but at the end of the day, nobody is above the rule of law — especially someone who voluntarily takes an oath to uphold that law. That’s something we’ve got to respect.”
Still, Obama acknowledged there is a lot more work to do when it comes to LGBT equality, such as “[ending] harmful practices like conversion therapy.”
But Obama said his experience as a father makes him hopeful that the country will eventually get there.
“To Malia and Sasha and their friends, discrimination in any form against anyone doesn’t make sense,” he said. “It doesn’t dawn on them that friends who are gay or friends’ parents who are same-sex couples should be treated differently than anyone else. That’s powerful.”
SOURCE: Yahoo News
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