Obama Says Parents Can No Longer Justify Their Opposition to Gay Marriage

Nation's 44th President Named 'Ally of the Year' by LGBT Magazine

U.S. President Barack Obama in Newark, New Jersey, November 2, 2015.
U.S. President Barack Obama in Newark, New Jersey, November 2, 2015. | REUTERS / Carlos Barria

President Barack Obama has become the first sitting U.S. leader to be featured on the front cover of an LGBT publication, after he was named "Ally of the Year" by OUT magazine.

In a wide-ranging interview, Obama said that attitudes toward LGBT people in America have greatly changed over the past few years, and suggested that parents can no longer find justifications to tell their children why gay people do not deserve equality.

"To Malia and Sasha and their friends, discrimination in any form against anyone doesn't make sense," Obama said in an interview for the magazine, referring to his daughters.

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"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. My sense is that a lot of parents across the country aren't going to want to sit around the dinner table and try to justify to their kids why a gay teacher or a transgender best friend isn't quite as equal as someone else," he added.

Obama also reflected on the Supreme Court's 5-4 favorable ruling on gay marriage in June, which he described back then as a "victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades working and praying for change to come."

The president claimed that despite undergoing a change in support for gay marriage, he has always supported LGBT equality, which goes back to his mother instilling in him "the strong belief that every person is of equal worth."

"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," he continued.

The president also addressed the controversy surrounding Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who made headline news earlier this year after she spent several days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, citing her religious beliefs.

Obama suggested that as a person of faith he deeply believes in religious freedom, but said that "nobody is above the rule of law."

Back in September, Pope Francis said following a week-long visit to America, however, that "conscientious objection is a right — it is a human right," when asked about the Davis' case.

The pontiff added that religious freedom rights should not be denied, as it can create a situation where some human rights are deemed more important than others.

Some Evangelical and Catholic groups have also stood up to the Obama administration when it comes to requiring them to engage in actions that would stand contrary to their beliefs about abortion, gender identity or gay marriage.

The groups, which included The National Association of Evangelicals, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Family Research Council, World Vision and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed concerns about the HHS Office of Civil Rights' proposed nondiscrimination rule.

They said in a letter that the robust definition for "sex discrimination" in the proposed rule includes "termination of pregnancy," "gender identity," and "relationship or association," which they said could also be extended to gay relationships.

"This expansive definition of sex discrimination lacks support in the language and legislative history of Title IX, and is likely to have a detrimental effect on the privacy interests of patients, to interfere in some instances with the effective delivery of healthcare services, and to infringe upon the religious and moral convictions of healthcare providers, insurers, and other stakeholders," the letter read.

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