President Obama has come out in support of a Constitutional guarantee for same-sex marriage in all fifty US states.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Obama said he thought that “the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states”.
The Equal Protection Clause refers to a section of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This stipulates that rights guaranteed by one state should be recognised in all others.
Obama citing the Equal Protection Clause echoes arguments that LGBT activists have been making for a while: that gay marriages which have taken place in states where it is legal should be recognised nationwide.
There are currently 24 states which allow same-sex marriage. Washington DC, which has its own district separate from the recognised states, also has marriage equality.
Obama’s views on the matter have changed over the years. Back in 2004, when the President was only a candidate for the United States Senate, he said that he believed “marriage is between a man and a woman”.
In late 2010, he admitted that his feelings on marriage equality were “constantly evolving” and in 2012 he voiced his support for gay marriage. However, at the time he stopped short of calling for constitutional recognition.
Despite his gradual evolution on the subject of same-sex marriage, President Obama is regarded as an ally of LGBT rights in the US. During his Presidency, the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy which banned gay people serving openly in the American military has been repealed. He has also voiced support for an anti-LGBT workplace discrimination bill.