In response to President Obama’s statement today in support of full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, Hector Villagra, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California, issued the following statement:
“The president’s statement in support of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples represents a watershed moment in the fight for justice for all Americans. With his short interview this afternoon on ABC, Barack Obama became the first sitting president to recognize that no one is threatened when all families are protected by the same laws and responsibilities.”
Same-sex couples can marry in six states (soon to be eight) and the District of Columbia. A number of others, including California, Hawai’i and Oregon offer civil unions or comprehensive domestic partnership, providing all or most of the rights and benefits of marriage, without the name itself. An estimated 1,138 additional benefits -- including the right to file a joint tax return, the right to sponsor a foreign spouse for immigration purposes, and others -- are provided exclusively by the federal government.