(DAKAR, Senegal) — President Obama on Thursday hailed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act as a “victory for American democracy” and said federal benefits should be broadly available to all same-sex married couples.
“It was a proud day, I think, for America,” Obama said, explaining that the ruling upheld “a basic precept that we are all equal under the law.”
Speaking at a joint press conference with Senegalese President Macky Sall, Obama said his administration is combing through legal statutes to determine whether it can order states to provide benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
“My personal belief, but I’m speaking now as a president as opposed to as a lawyer, is that if you’ve been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else, you’re still married, and that under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple,” Obama said.
Asked about the court’s decision this week to strike down portions of the Voting Rights Act, Obama said the court “made a mistake in this ruling” and did not recognize the degree to which voter suppression still exists across the country.
“It was the cornerstone and culmination of years of struggle — blood, sweat, tears, and in some cases deaths,” he said of the civil rights law. “I might not be here as president had it not been for those who courageously helped to pass the Voting Rights Act.”
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