Obama made the remarks in an interview with YouTube blogger GloZell Green after she asked if he thinks same-sex marriage will be legalized across the country during the time he’ll be in office and what he could do to push it along.
“I’m hopeful the Supreme Court comes to the right decision, but I will tell you, people’s hearts have opened up on this issue,” Obama said. “I think people know that treating folks unfairly, even if you disagree with their lifestyle choice, the fact of the matter is, they’re not bothering you. Let them live their lives, and under the law, they should be treated equally.”
On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to take up litigation filed in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples. The expectation is the court will deliver a a nationwide ruling on the issue by the end of June.
Initially in response to the question, Obama talked about his administration’s work on behalf of same-sex marriage, which includes him coming out in favor of marriage equality and the Justice Department’s decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court.
“Well, we’ve done a lot, obviously, to push it along,” Obama said. “I announced my belief that same-sex marriage should be legal, that people should be treated the same. We argued against as an administration, before the Supreme Court, we argued against the Defense of Marriage Act that was treating married couples, same-sex couples differently in terms of federal benefits.”
Speaking about the decision the Supreme Court will face, Obama said he personally thinks the same-sex couples he knows “are great parents and great partners” and the idea the law would treat them differently “doesn’t make any sense to me.”
“My hope is they go ahead and recognize what, I think, the majority of people now recognize, which is two people who love each other, and are treating each other with respect, and aren’t bothering anybody else — why would the law treat them differently?” Obama said.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has already announced he intends a friend-of-the-court arguing in favor of marriage rights “for all Americans.” Although the administration has strongly suggested it will argue that all bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, the nature of the brief remains to be seen.