In his State of the Union address, President Obama called the legalization of same-sex marriage another civil rights victory that was won once America faced its unfounded “fears” of another “group or idea” that might threaten the nation.
Obama added a reference to same-sex marriage to a list of “big changes” America has endured, such as “wars and depression, the influx of immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, and movements to expand civil rights.” He added that some – presumably conservatives – “claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control.”
“And each time, we overcame those fears,” the president continued, saying:
We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the “dogmas of the quiet past.” Instead we thought anew, and acted anew. We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more and more people. And because we did – because we saw opportunity where others saw only peril – we emerged stronger and better than before.
In fact, it’s that spirit that made the progress of these past seven years possible. It’s how we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations. It’s how we reformed our health care system, and reinvented our energy sector; how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops and veterans, and how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love.
Obama invited Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the court case that led to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, to sit in First Lady Michelle Obama’s box during the address.