Obama: Same-sex couples should be able to get married

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he thinks same-sex couples should be able to get married, reversing his long-standing position on the issue.

The president made the comments during an interview with ABC News, following similar comments by his vice-president, Joe Biden, who earlier this week said he was “absolutely comfortable” with allowing same-sex marriages. Obama stopped short of going any further on the issue, saying that this is a personal position and that he supports the idea of leaving it up to individual U.S. states to legislate the matter on their own. On Tuesday, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitution amendment to ban same-sex unions, making the southern state the 31st to approve such an amendment.

The issue has become a hot topic in the race for the White House this fall, placing Obama now on side with defenders of same sex unions against his opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, who opposes the idea. Speaking to a local Fox News affiliate in Denver, Co., on Wednesday, Romney said “I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender.”

From ABC News:

In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this decision, based on conversations with his staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and his wife and daughters.

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Roberts in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.