Tonight, for the first time in a public address, President Obama referred to same-sex couples seeking equal marriage rights to opposite-sex couples as "marriage equality."
From the transcript of tonight's New York fundraiser hosted by Ricky Martin at the Rubin Museum of Art:
And at root, so much of this has to do with a belief that not only are we all in this together, but all of us are equal in terms of dignity and in terms of respect, and everybody deserves a shot. (Applause.) So part of what we’ve been spending a lot of time doing is just making sure that those ideals that we profess are made real.
The first bill I signed, the Lilly Ledbetter Act -- a simple proposition -- equal pay for equal work. I don’t want my daughters treated differently than my sons. (Applause.) That’s the reason why we’re fighting for comprehensive immigration reform -- because I believe that a child who’s here, raised with our kids, playing with our kids, has as much talent as our kids, the notion that somehow they would not have the capacity, the ability to proclaim themselves Americans and to fulfill their American Dream -- that’s not who we are and that’s not what we’re about. (Applause.)
The announcement I made last week about my views on marriage equality -- same principle. The basic idea -- I want everybody treated fairly in this country. We have never gone wrong when we expanded rights and responsibilities to everybody. That doesn’t weaken families; that strengthens families. (Applause.) It’s the right thing to do.
On each and every one of these issues there is a fundamental difference between the candidates. And when we passed health care reform, we did it because a country this wealthy, we shouldn’t have 30 million people without health insurance. That’s not an efficient way to go. We shouldn’t have people showing up at emergency rooms that we end up having to pay for indirectly because we couldn’t give them preventive care. I don’t want women being charged more than men for their ailments. That’s not right. I want to make sure that seniors who have been paying into Medicare, that they’ve got Medicare that they can count on in their Golden Years. (Applause.) And we’ve got to make some changes, but we’re not going to voucherize that program.
It’s been said that this election is going to be about values, and I absolutely agree. It’s about the economic values we have, about the values that I believe are what makes America so special -- the idea that everybody gets a fair shot, everybody does their fair share, everybody plays by the same set of rules. So everything we do -- from Wall Street reform, making sure that banks aren’t taking risks with other people’s money that taxpayers may have to end up bailing out later, to repealing DOMA -- (applause) -- to getting the DREAM Act passed, to investing in our schools, to rebuilding manufacturing in America -- all of these things are designed to make sure that we’re restoring middle-class security for all those folks out there that are struggling for their small portion of the American Dream.
And the good news is I think the American people are on our side on this. When you ask them specifically about all these issues, they ultimately choose the vision that I’m presenting over the one that the other side is presenting.
[Photo: Obama (Photo by Ward Morrison.)]