Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal [Update]

President Barack Obama announced today that he personally supports the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

In a much anticipated interview ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president said  “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

Until today, Mr. Obama had merely said that he was “evolving” on the issue.  His evolution seemed to come to a head however over the weekend when Vice-President Joe Biden announced that he was “absolutely” comfortable with the men marrying men or women marrying women.

Mr. Obama however suggested that he was pushed more by members of his own staff and his own friends and family.

“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together,” he told Ms. Roberts. “When I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage.”

And Mr. Obama also cited his children as an inspiration

“You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples,” he said. “There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”

The statement comes after North Carolina became yet the latest state to vote to ban same-sex marriage in its constitution in a referendum last night.

The interview is expected to air in parts tonight during the ABC Evening and tomorrow during “Good Morning America.”

Clips can be viewed here