Obama thanks daughters for changing his views on same-sex marriage
The outgoing President praised his daughters for helping him understand the difference between civil unions and marriage.
In a meeting with 500 young leaders in London this weekend, President Barack Obama discussed what led him to change his opinion on marriage equality.
“I have to confess my children generally had an impact on me,” he told the crowd.
Obama revealed that he was initially in favour of civil unions, and felt that it was unnecessary to “label” a same-sex union as marriage, since he felt people were getting the same rights anyway.
However, with the aid of daughters Malia, 17, and Sasha, 14 – as well as LGBT activists – he says he was able to understand why achieving marriage equality was so important.
“People I loved who were in monogamous same-sex relationships explained to me what I should have understood earlier,” he told the crowd.
“Which is it was not simply about legal rights but about a sense of stigma.”
“If you’re calling it something different it means that somehow it means less in the eyes of society,” he added.
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The outgoing leader also praised the LGBT community for reaching out to their conservative opponents and bringing on “the fastest set of changes in terms of the social movement” in US history.
“I thought there was a lot of smarts in reaching out and building and framing the issue in a way that could bring in people who initially didn’t agree with them,” he said.
During the session, Obama also heard from a non-binary transgender person who came out to the President – saying it was “now or never”.
Obama told Maria Munir his was “proud” of them, as they explained that they do not identify as a binary gender, before urging the President and David Cameron to do more to include non-binary people in laws to protect LGBT people.
During his final visit to the UK as the President of the United States, Barack Obama also said that anti-LGBT laws in states like Mississippi should be reversed.