US President Barack Obama has backed moves to legalize same-sex marriage in three states deciding ballot initiatives on the issue at elections in November
The Obama campaign released statements in support of ballot measures on same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington state on Thursday.
If any of the initiatives are approved it will be the first time that same-sex marriage has been legalized through a popular vote in the US.
Voters in 32 states have voted on the issue up until now, with all of those voting against same-sex marriage.
Northeast Regional Press Secretary for the Obama campaign Michael Czin released a statement in which he outlined the President’s support for the Maine initiative.
‘While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,’ Czin wrote.
‘The president believes same-sex couples should be treated equally and supports Question 1.’
The campaign’s Washington press secretary and another spokesman released nearly identical statements supporting same-sex marriage initiatives in Washington and Maryland.
‘Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the President supports a vote to approve Referendum 74,’ the press secretary wrote,
‘Maryland’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Maryland couples equally, and that is why the president supports Question 6,’ the spokesman said.
LGBT rights groups Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign released a joint statement welcoming the President’s announcement of his support.
‘President Obama continues to be a transformational leader for LGBT equality,’ Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said.
‘The president’s historic announcement of his support for marriage equality earlier this year sent a powerful message, particularly to LGBT youth, that no one’s hope of achieving the American dream should be curtailed simply because of who they are … We enter the final two weeks of this hard-fought campaign knowing that the President of the United States joins our entire community in supporting their efforts to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect.’
The announcement from the Obama camp stands in stark contrast to the Republican ticket on the issue with Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan a long term opponent of same-sex marriage and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney backtracking on whether he would allow US states to decide the issue for themselves.
The news also comes as the Boston Globe reveals that Governor Romney had staff micro-manage the recognition of same-sex parents on birth certificates, following the legalization of same-sex marriage in his state of Massachusetts, forcing officials to write in second parents rather that allowing a ‘father or second parent’ box on forms, and had his legal staff review the circumstances of every child born to same-sex parents in the state before accepting the existence of a parental relationship.