President Barack Obama has made history by becoming the first sitting US president to grant an interview and photoshoot for an LGBT publication.
Barack Obama has been honoured by OUT Magazine as the Ally of the Year for his unwavering support of same-sex marriage and LGBT issues throughout his presidency.
Back in 2009 when Obama was sworn into office, same-sex marriage was legal in on two US states and he was yet to publicly declare his support. Fast forward six years, and same-sex marriage is legal countrywide under Obama’s administration – and he has been a staunch supporter of LGBT rights for the past four years.
He explained why LGBT rights are so important to him, and says that he relates to some of the adversity the community can face.
“My mom instilled in me the strong belief that every person is of equal worth,” Obama told Out. “At the same time, growing up as a black guy with a funny name, I was often reminded of exactly what it felt like to be on the outside. One of the reasons I got involved in politics was to help deliver on our promise that we’re all created equal and that no one should be excluded from the American dream just because of who they are.”
The president also weighed in on Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“I am a man of faith and believe deeply in religious freedom – but at the end of the day, nobody is above the rule of law – especially someone who voluntarily takes an oath to uphold that law. That’s something we’ve got to respect.”
However, the journey to equality is not completely over after the Supreme Court ruling that legalised same-sex marriage nationwide. He explained that there is still a long road ahead, such as “[ending] harmful practices like conversion therapy.”
Despite the work that is yet to be done, Obama is hopeful for future generations, referencing his two teenage daughters. “To Malia and Sasha and their friends, discrimination in any form against anyone doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t dawn on them that friends who are gay or friends’ parents who are same-sex couple should be treated any differently. That’s powerful,” he said.
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