American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Reactions: AFER’s Leaders in the Media about Obama Marriage Equality Support

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President Obama’s announcement yesterday that he supports full marriage equality for gay and lesbian American is nothing less than historic. For the first time, a sitting U.S. President has come out in strong, full support of full equality.

Here’s a round-up of interviews quoting people involved with AFER’s case for marriage equality.

AFER Board President Chad Griffin in The Washington Post:

Obama’s words “will be celebrated by generations to come.”

In The New York Times, Chad said:

“If you are one of those who care about this issue, you will not forget where you were when you saw the president deliver those remarks. Regardless of how old you are, it’s the first time you have ever seen a president of the United States look into a camera and say that a gay person should be treated equally under the law. The message that that sends, to a young gay or transgender  person struggling to come out, is life changing.”

Chad was also featured in an interview with Piers Morgan:

AFER’s case was featured in The New York Times’ editorial:

A federal judge in California, supported by an appellate court panel, has ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage violates the 14th Amendment right to equal protection. That decision will probably reach the Supreme Court, and, when it does, we expect Mr. Obama, if he is still president, will take the final step in his evolutionary process and direct the Justice Department to support that ruling and urge the court to uphold equality in every state.

AFER lead co-counsel and former George W. Bush Administration Solicitor General Ted Olson was featured in a front-page story in The Daily Beast:

“It is very sad to me that people who belong to the party of Abraham Lincoln are resisting so strenuously the equality and decency and integrity and treatment of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” Olson said. “This seems to be one of the last major civil rights battles of our country. And for people in our country to come out in numbers like this and say, ‘Well, we don’t want the persons next door—who are decent, God-fearing, taxpaying, obeying-the-law citizens who simply want to have happiness like the rest of us’—to say ‘No, I have that right and you can’t have it.’ That just seems mean to me.”

In the Los Angeles Times, Ted said:

The bedrock American principles of freedom and human dignity are central to the political and legal convictions of Republicans, Democrats, liberals, and conservatives alike. President Obama’s words remind us that marriage and equality are universal values that unite us all.  They remind us that we are all — as a people and a nation — striving to form a more perfect union.”

Ted Olson also spoke with Frank Bruni of The New York Times:

“Where does the Congress get the power to regulate marriage?” He’s not sure it exists. “You have to find something in the Constitution that empowers Congress and the Federal government to do that.”

He said that arguments could perhaps be made that the 14th Amendment, which contains language guaranteeing the equal protection of all citizens and was cited in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down state laws against interracial marriage, gives Congress a point of entry into marriage law.

AFER plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, residents of Burbank, CA, were featured in an article by the Glendale News-Press:

Burbank resident Paul Katami, who with his longtime partner, Jeff Zarrillo, filed a joint legal challenge with a lesbian couple to California’s voter-approved Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, was celebrating Wednesday what he described as a “very good day” for the gay community.

“This is what America is about,” Katami said. “This isn’t something that needs to be a divisive issue, this is something that should be a uniting issue.”

AFER plaintiffs Kris Perry & Sandy Stier were featured in a video by The Associated Press:

Kris and Sandy also with Steve Jaxon on The Drive at KSRO in Sonoma County


AFER Board Member Dustin Lance Black was featured in The Huffington Post:

“It does show leadership. It shows strength. And all these things I’ve been waiting to see,” Black said. “I’ve caught myself saying, ‘Yes we can’ again.”

Margaret Hoover, AFER Advisory Board Member, wrote an opinion piece at

While the reigning stereotype is that Republicans are opposed to gay rights, growing Republican support in state-by-state fights belies this perception. Indeed, in New Hampshire and New York, Republicans were critical to recent marriage freedom victories.