President Obama celebrated the Supreme Court re-definition of marriage today, making a personal statement in the Rose Garden at the White House.
During his remarks, Obama praised the massive change as “justice that arrives like a thunderbolt,” ending a “patchwork system” of individual states defining legal marriage.
“I know change for many of our LGBT brothers and sisters must have seemed so slow for so long,” he said. “But compared to so many other issues, America’s shift has been so quick.”
Obama praised the decision as a “victory for America” that made everyone in the United States more equal.
“Today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we’ve made our union a little more perfect,” he said.
But the president noted that some opposition to gay marriage came from sincere religious beliefs, calling for a renewed commitment to religious freedom.
“I know that Americans of good will continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition in some cases has been based on serious and deeply held beliefs. All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact, recognize different viewpoints, revere our deep commitment to religious freedom.”
Obama emphasized the historic moment as one that he deeply agreed with.
“What an extraordinary achievement,” he said, referring to the case.
“What a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.”
“America should be very proud,” he concluded.
Before he took the podium, CNN broadcast a personal phone call from President Obama to plaintiff Jim Obergefell on speakerphone.
“I’m really proud of you,” the president said to an emotional Obergefell. “Not only have you been a great example for people but you’re also…going to bring about lasting change in this country. It’s pretty rare when that happens, so I couldn’t be prouder of you and your husband and God bless you.”