In a town hall meeting in London over the weekend, President Barack Obama opened up about his journey toward understanding the importance of marriage equality.
“My notion was initially that labeling those partnerships as marriage wasn’t necessary as long as people were getting the same rights and it would disentangle them from some of the religious connotations that marriage had in the minds of a lot of Americans.”
But Obama’s views changed—thanks, especially, to his daughters, Malia and Sasha. “I have to confess that my children generally had an impact on me,” he said.
“People I loved who were in monogamous same-sex relationships explained to me what I should have understood earlier, which is it was not simply about legal rights but about a sense of stigma, that if you’re calling it something different it means that somehow it means less in the eyes of society.”
*snaps snaps snaps*
“I believe that the manner in which the LGBT community described marriage equality as not some radical thing, but actually reached out to people who said they care about family values and said ‘If you care about everything that families provide—stability and commitment and partnership—then this is actually a pretty conservative position to take, that you should be in favor of this.’ 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.”
Watch Obama’s full speech below: