Azaria. Is it too late to learn?

I wasn’t even born when she was taken, but like so many other Australians, I feel strangely attached to her story. Uluru. The dingos. The cruelty. The unspeakable heartbreak. The outrage.

It’s a desperate, powerful story that we mustn’t forget anytime soon.

Or have we already forgotten?

Our courts still don’t know how to handle disagreements between forensic scientists.

Our journalists are even more brazenly engaged in trial-by-media.

And we still believe that members of religious groups are [probably] nuts.

Oh Azaria, we’re such slow learners.

Barack Obama on same sex marriage

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I’ve always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I’ve talked to friends and family about this. I’ve thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, I’ve gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I’ve come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

Barack Obama

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