News (USA)

Obama calls for support of state marriage equality ballot initiatives

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday reaffirmed his support for marriage equality, and called on Americans to support the freedom to marry when they vote on ballot measures in Maine, Maryland and Washington.

The statement follows the president’s announcement in May that he supports same-sex marriage, saying he evolved from supporting civil unions for gay and lesbian couples to support for full marriage rights.

In Washington state, the “same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the President supports a vote to approve Referendum 74,” said Paul Bell, regional press secretary for the Obama-Biden campaign, in a statement.

In a similar statement regarding Maine’s ballot initiative to legalize same-sex marriage, Michael Czin, Northeast regional press secretary for the campaign, said, “The president believes same-sex couples should be treated equally and supports Question 1.”

In Maryland, Obama is heard endorsing same-sex marriage in a new radio ad being aired by supporters of Question 6, that state’s ballot measure that would legalize gay unions. The ad, which is airing in both the Washington and Baltimore markets, features a clip from Obama’s ABC News interview in May in which he talked about having “evolved” on the issue.

“The president’s historic announcement of his support for marriage equality earlier this year sent a powerful message, particularly to LGBT youth, that no one’s hope of achieving the American dream should be curtailed simply because of who they are. In Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, we enter the final two weeks of this hard-fought campaign knowing that the president of the United States joins our entire community in supporting their efforts to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect,” said Griffin.

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“Today President Obama added a strong and personal ‘I do’ to voters still making up their minds on whether to support the freedom to marry in Maine, Maryland, and Washington this election, and Freedom to Marry applauds the president’s moral leadership in standing up for families, fairness, and freedom,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry.

“As the president said in May, ‘Same-sex couples should be able to get married … when we think about our faith, it’s also the golden rule.’ The right thing to do on these ballot-measures is to vote to treat others just as you would want to be treated – and let loving and committed couples share in the freedom to marry,” added Wolfson.

The president has previously spoken out against a Minnesota proposal to exclude gays and lesbians from marriage in the state constitution. Washington residents are already voting by mail, while voters in the other three states will vote at the polls on Nov. 6.

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