This afternoon, The Rainbow Times caught up with local community leaders on their response to President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage today.
Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
“President Obama has traveled a road that many Americans have travelled in recent years. Gay and lesbian couples have the same love and make the same commitment as all couples, and deserve the same recognition as full citizens. Our country’s history is one of expanding the circle of constitutional rights and protections to include more citizens, and our nation is always the better for it.”
Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project
“Today, President Barack Obama set himself apart as a role model for all Americans to support the freedom to marry, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Validating that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are fully and equally deserving of love and the commitment of marriage sends a message to vulnerable youth that they have value and can dream for the future.
“At The Trevor Project, we know that family, community and religious acceptance all play a very strong role in the safety and well-being of LGBTQ young people. Thank you, Mr. President for speaking out as an accepting ally.”
Kara Suffredini, Esq., Executive Director, MassEquality
“As the first state to secure marriage equality for generations to come, we in Massachusetts are thrilled by the President’s announcement. It’s hard to imagine anything more significant to the marriage equality movement than the most powerful leader in the world declaring his support for the right to marry for all Americans. It’s a powerful affirmation before the country and world of the basic human dignity of same-sex couples and their families.
“The President’s evolution on marriage equality is not unlike the experience of the majority of Americans who have come to understand why marriage is so important to loving same-sex couples and their children. Listening, learning, growing, and changing is the American way, but it takes courage and leadership. We applaud President Obama for showing both today.
“We can’t help but note the irony of the President’s statement coming just one day after voters in North Carolina approved an amendment to the North Carolina state constitution that denies any form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples. Despite this setback, today marks another step forward in the unmistakable trend toward public acceptance and embrace of marriage equality. At least seven national polls have found majority support among Americans for marriage equality. These polls, and major advances on marriage equality this year in Washington and Maryland, show that the day is fast approaching when we will finally put the politics of discrimination around marriage equality behind us.
“Here in Massachusetts we have been privileged to celebrate the right to marry for just a week shy of eight years. What we’ve learned is that our communities are safer, happier, and healthier when all families are respected, supported and celebrated. As time goes on and even larger majorities of Americans come to support marriage equality, we look forward to the day when all Americans can enjoy the freedom to marry.”
Suzanne Seymour, Executive Director, LGBT Coalition of Western Massachusetts
“President Obama has been such a pioneer of fairness towards the LGBT community and he, again, has chosen to side with equality and human rights for all. Not only has he delivered with DADT, DOMA, domestic rights to Federal same-sex couples, women rights, etc., he has been instrumental, once again, in guiding Americans towards the path of justice, not just for some, but for all Americans.
“In light of North Carolina’s inequality vote, President Obama rises above and took a stance that no other president in the history of this nation has taken. I highly commend him for that and thank him too.”
Gunner Scott, Executive Director, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, (MTPC)
“People can say what they want about President Barack Obama, but he is the only sitting President to actually work to change policies for LGBT people for the better and his speaking out today for equal marriage shows his evolution on the issue.”
“I think this was in part due to his working with openly identified LGBT people. When the work is done to eliminate LGBT discrimination, then people get to be out about who they are and that helps to shift the culture, the hearts and the minds of those around us, even those with power, like President Obama.”
Boston Pride, Boston Massachusetts
“As members of a community who every day face discrimination in this country and around the world, we appreciate President Obama’s willingness to take this courageous stand. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same sex marriage, and since then, we’ve only seen support for marriage equality grow. Yet even while it has grown, there are those who would continue to deny us the basic right to love, marriage, and family. As such, we thank President Obama for his public statements in support of marriage equality and we look forward to the day that all Americans have the right to marry their partner, regardless of gender or orientation.”