The evolution is complete, and President Obama told ABC News this afternoon that he now supports marriage equality. He told Robin Roberts:
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."
It's a breakthrough moment for a president who already has a rather impressive record on advancing LGBT rights, and an unexpected step forward for the gay-rights movement.
The remarks also end the confusion surrounding the White House's position, made more complicated by Vice President Biden's comments made over the weekend, and help clear the way for a more progressive Democratic Party platform when the party meets in (of all places) North Carolina.
Update: Fox News has decided that the president has "declared war on marriage." It'll be interesting to see if other Republicans target Obama with similar rhetoric.
Second Update: A full transcript of the president's remarks is not yet available, but ABC's report noted that Obama went on to say he talked with First Lady Michelle Obama about his position, and reflected on his views as they relate to his family's Christianity: "We are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it's also the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that's what we try to impart to our kids and that's what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I'll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I'll be as president."