November 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Obama ‘proud’ of Hawaii for enacting same-sex marriage
President Obama said he's "proud" of his home state of Hawaii for legalizing same-sex marriage (Blade photo by Lee Whitman).

President Obama said he’s “proud” of his home state of Hawaii for legalizing same-sex marriage (Blade photo by Lee Whitman).

President Obama issued a statement shortly after the Hawaii legislature gave final approval to a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on Tuesday, saying he’s “proud” of his birth state for enacting marriage equality.

“Whenever freedom and equality are affirmed, our country becomes stronger,” Obama said. “By giving loving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry if they choose, Hawaii exemplifies the values we hold dear as a nation. I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is expected to sign on Wednesday the legislation that the State Senate approved earlier on Tuesday by a vote of 19-4. The bill was an amended version of marriage legislation that the State House approved last week.

The wins for marriage equality in recent weeks have been hitting close to home for Obama. Last week, the legislature in Illinois, where Obama served as a state senator and U.S. senator, gave the final approval to marriage equality legislation. Afterward, Obama said he and Michelle Obama were “overjoyed” by the news. This week, the victory came in Hawaii, where Obama was born in 1961.

The full statement follows:

“I want to congratulate the Hawaii State Legislature on passing legislation in support of marriage equality.  With today’s vote, Hawaii joins a growing number of states that recognize that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be treated fairly and equally under the law.  Whenever freedom and equality are affirmed, our country becomes stronger.  By giving loving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry if they choose, Hawaii exemplifies the values we hold dear as a nation.  I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder.  And Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those in Hawaii whose families will now be given the security and respect they deserve. “

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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