In an interview with MTV last week, President Obama was asked about the issue of same-sex marriage. In part of his response, Obama said, “For us to try to legislate federally into this area is probably the wrong way to go,” which led many media outlets, including ABC News, to speculate that he had reversed his position on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. As BuzzFeed correctly pointed out, though, the President was clarifying that the federal government should not impose same-sex marriage through law, but allow individual states to still make that decision. In his answer, he actually reiterated his opposition to DOMA:
OBAMA: I have been very clear about my belief that same-sex couples have to be treated before the eyes of the law in the same way as heterosexual couples. I think that’s the right thing to do. It’s based on my personal experience seeing loving couples who are committed to each other, raising kids, and are just outstanding people. [...]
[H]istorically, marriages have been defined at the state level. There’s a conversation going on. New York has moved forward with one set of ideas. There are some other states that are still having that debate. I think that, for us to try to legislate federally into this area is probably the wrong way to go. The courts are going to be examining these issues.
I’ve stood up and said I’m opposed to the so-called Defense Against Marriage Act, because what that does is it says that the federal government won’t even recognize a marriage for a state that has decided that they’re going to recognize same-sex couples. [...] I’ve said that’s wrong. There are a couple of cases that are working their way through the courts, and my expectation is that the Defense of Marriage Act will be overturned.