Obama says benefits of same-sex marriages should cross state lines
June 27th, 2013
08:18 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama says benefits of same-sex marriages should cross state lines

Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET on Thursday, June 27

(CNN) – Same-sex marriages should be recognized as valid even in states where the practice is forbidden, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

Speaking the day after an historic Supreme Court ruling striking down the key portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Obama said the benefits of being married should extend to same-sex couples no matter where they live. Twelve states, plus the District of Columbia, currently allow same-sex marriage, while 35 states ban it.

"If you've been married in Massachusetts and move somewhere else, you're still married," Obama said in Dakar, Senegal, in a response to a question from CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin. "Under federal law, you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple. But again I'm speaking as a president not a lawyer."

Saying he's directed the federal government to ensure statutes that apply to married people are now properly extended to same-sex couples, Obama explained the Wednesday ruling did not mean that same-sex marriages were permitted nationwide.

"The Supreme Court did not make a blanket ruling that applies nationally, but rather lifted up the ability of states to recognize and respect same-sex marriage, and that the federal government couldn't negate the decision by those states," Obama said.

Obama's remarks came on the second day of a tour through Africa, a continent where many countries still outlaw homosexuality. In a meeting with Senegal's President Macky Sall, the country's ban on homosexuality did not come up, Obama said.

He did, however, say during a press conference that all nations must grant equal rights to all citizens, regardless of prevailing religious views.

"The issue of gays and lesbians and how they're treated has come up and is controversial in many parts of Africa," Obama said, noting that "when it comes to people's personal views and religion, faith, etcetera, I think we have to respect the religious views that are there."

"But when it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally," Obama continued. "I don't believe in discrimination of any sort. That's my personal view. And I speak as somebody who comes from a country in which there were times when people were not treated equally under the law, and we had to fight long and hard under a civil rights struggle to make sure that happened."

Filed under: President Obama • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    You can't have portions of the country that have freedom and others that don't! Get with the program already. 37 states to go.

    June 27, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  2. smith

    There are plenty of states that allow same sex marriage. That is what makes america great is there is room for all here, no matter what your personal beliefs are. Sometimes you have to move to a certain region or state to find what your looking for. If we make every state like D.C, or Cally the states will lose any sense of difference.

    June 27, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  3. Juice

    This man is no Christian; He is a trickster who says one thing and then does another. He will go down in history as being one of the most polarizing Presidents in U.S. history. I still love him and God will judge him at the appropriate time.

    June 27, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  4. Data Driven

    Tell it to your pal Chris Christie, Mr. President.

    By the way, Democrats: still like Chris this morning?

    June 27, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  5. Peoples State of Illinois

    Ummm, no, it is up to the voters of each state. All gay life functions should cease.

    June 27, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    We know that's not going to happen.

    Let them go to live where they are welcomed.

    That will only last, however, until they become offensive to the rest of society, by their numbers........as they have in SF, which is why prop 8 succeeded in passing, in the first place.

    Most people will overlook them, until there gets to be too many of them, in any given place.......and then they will turn against them, because it becomes too "in the face" of other people.

    June 27, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  7. Borderless

    Ya, Obama, thanks for all your hard work on this matter. I really hope you don't try to take credit for any of this.

    June 27, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  8. shane

    in about 10 years or less all states wil have ssm. this is just the last cries of bigotry holding on wwhen they see the end is near.

    June 27, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. No Sense

    That makes literally no sense. States that ban gay marriage have to agree to rules by other states? That's against the constitution. States can't enforce laws onto other states. So, as of now, no, states that ban gay marriage don't have to accept couples married in other states.

    June 27, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. ron

    obama should be impeached...he is so far disconnected from the constitution, and laws...he deserves it..

    June 27, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  11. the antichrist has arisen

    He is the homosexual antichrist ... marrying your pets is next up ...

    June 27, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    If you think the government has the authority to force religious groups to perform same-sex marriages, you're wrong. They cannot dictate to private religious organizations and groups about how to perform marriages. This only applies to civil marriages performed by a public official. DOMA was designed to prevent public officials from performing same-sex marriages.

    June 27, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  13. Ed1

    I say no if a man and a woman didn't provide the sperm and egg no of us would be here and God gave us the materials not two men and two women.

    June 27, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  14. Guest

    The only thing I have against homsexuals is that they insist on stealing the traditional definition of marriage from Americans, religions and people worldwide. I cant see how it is so egregious that a "union" is not acceptable. Another case of the misplaced equality false narrative pandering to small percentages of society world wide.

    June 27, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  15. Bob Moore

    I foresee a massive raise in taxes. First the Obamacare will be using our taxes to cover the irresponsible people's butts next year and then the demand for more divorce court judges will occur when the same-sex marriages fail. May I propose a solution? Lets be radical by demanding that our employers not to withhold our taxes until the Obamacare becomes repealed and a constitutional amendment for the defination of marriage being one man and one woman be ratified! This will be a real national wide "Tea Party" protest!

    June 27, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Truth

    Obama states "If you've been married in Massachusetts and move somewhere else, you're still married," Obama said in Dakar, Senegal".

    Wrong again Obama. When you were a legal resident of the state of Massachusetts and resided there, then yes, you were legally married.
    When you move, become a resident of another state legally, and take up legal residency in another state, you are subject to that state's laws. Therefore if that state does not recognize your union or marriage, you are not valid under that state's laws.
    You cannot "import" your status to another sovereign state just because you wish it to be.
    It would be no different than trying to import rulings or laws from another state such as: divorce decrees, child custody decrees, gun rights, DUI laws, common law marriage guidelines, etc.
    I'm not a lawyer either Mr Obama, but I do have something apparently you do not...common sense.
    It seems common sense is not so common these days.
    ...and this guy has a law degree?????????

    June 27, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Guest

    To do dismiss the beliefs of billions of people world wide in appeasement to the homosexual community is outrageous. If you are gay, I have nothing agaisnt you but come up with a term for your relationship that doesnt infringe on our beliefs. What is so wrong with union? Do you love your partner less because of terminolgy?

    June 27, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    obama should be impeached...he is so far disconnected from the constitution, and laws...he deserves it..
    List one impeachable offense he's committed law professor.........

    June 27, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. Data Driven

    @People's State of Illinois,

    "All gay life functions should cease."

    Wow. Proud of yourself this morning?

    June 27, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |