Obama Says His Faith Informed His Support for Gay Marriage

In his interview with ABC News, released just this afternoon, President Obama said that his faith played a role in his decision to finally endorse same-sex marriage. He noted that he and his wife Michelle “are both practicing Christians,” adding:

obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.

In 2004, Obama told a public television station in Chicago, “What I believe is that is between a man and a woman. What I believe, in my faith, is that a man and a woman, when they get married, are performing something before God, and it’s not simply the two persons who are meeting.” In 2010, he told progressive bloggers, “I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.”

Obama didn’t just endorse same-sex marriage today. He abandoned conservative religious rhetoric about it and signaled that religious conservatives, even his close religious advisors, don’t own the conversation on what Christianity has to say about marriage.

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, covers politics and religion. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The American ProspectThe NationSalon, and other publications. Follow her on TwitterRSS feed Email