Transcript: Robin Roberts ABC News Interview With President Obama


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well-- well-- well, what I'm saying is is that different states are coming to different conclusions. But this debate is taking place-- at a local level. And I think the whole country is evolving and changing. And-- you know, one of the things that I'd like to see is-- that a conversation continue in a respectful way.

I think it's important to recognize that-- folks-- who-- feel very strongly that marriage should be defined narrowly as-- between a man and a woman-- many of them are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective. They're coming at it because they care about families. And-- they-- they have a different understanding, in terms of-- you know, what the word "marriage" should mean. And I-- a bunch of 'em are friends of mine-- you know, pastors and-- you know, people who-- I deeply respect.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Especially in the Black community.


ROBIN ROBERTS: And it's very-- a difficult conversation to have.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Absolutely. But-- but I think it's important for me-- to say to them that as much as I respect 'em, as much as I understand where they're comin' from-- when I meet gay and lesbian couples, when I meet same-sex couples, and I see-- how caring they are, how much love they have in their hearts-- how they're takin' care of their kids. When I hear from them the pain they feel that somehow they are still considered-- less than full citizens when it comes to-- their legal rights-- then-- for me, I think it-- it just has tipped the scales in that direction.

And-- you know, one of the things that you see in-- a state like New York that-- ended up-- legalizing same-sex marriages-- was I thought they did a good job in engaging the religious community. Making it absolutely clear that what we're talking about are civil marriages and civil laws.

That they're re-- re-- respectful of religious liberty, that-- you know, churches and other faith institutions-- are still gonna be able to make determinations about what they're sacraments are-- what they recognize. But from the perspective of-- of the law and perspective of the state-- I think it's important-- to say that in this country we've always been about-- fairness. And-- and treatin' everybody-- as equals. Or at least that's been our aspiration. And I think-- that applies here, as well.

ROBIN ROBERTS: So if you were the governor of New York or legislator in North Carolina, you would not be opposed? You would vote for legalizing same-sex marriage?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I would. And-- and that's-- that's part of the-- the evolution that I went through. I-- I asked myself-- right after that New York vote took place, if I had been a state senator, which I was for a time-- how would I have voted? And I had to admit to myself, "You know what? I think that-- I would have voted yes." It would have been hard for me, knowing-- all the friends and family-- that-- are gays or lesbians, that for me to say to them, you know, "I voted to oppose you having-- the same kind of rights-- and responsibilities-- that I have."

And-- you know, it's interesting. Some of this is also generational. You know, when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that-- I have terrible policies on the-- the economy or on foreign policy. But are very clear that when it comes to same-sex equality or, you know-- sexual orientation that they believe in equality. They're much more comfortable with it.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...