President Obama spoke at an LGBT fundraiser this evening in New York City, just as the New York Senate prepares to take up marriage equality legislation. Obama addressed the measure directly, reiterating his position that marriage is best left to the states:
OBAMA: Part of the reason that DOMA doesn’t make sense is that traditionally marriage has been decided by the states and right now, I understand there is a little debate going on here in New York about whether to join five other states and DC in allowing civil marriage for gay couples. And I want to say that under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, with the support of Democrats and Republicans, New York is doing exactly what democracies are supposed to to do. There is a debate, there is a deliberation about what it means here in New York to treat people fairly in the eyes of the law and that is — look, that’s the power of our democratic system.
Earlier in the speech, Obama was briefly interrupted by marriage proponents who encouraged him to evolve towards supporting full marriage rights. He addressed their requests only once, saying, “I heard you guys. Believe it or not, I anticipated someone might…” Watch it:
Protesters outside of Obama’s speech: