Former President Barack Obama has criticized Republicans who continue to attack same-sex marriage, six years after the Supreme Court legalized it nationwide.
Obama spoke Saturday at a campaign event for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, just days after McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, said he opposed marriage equality.
In an interview last week with the Associated Press, Youngkin spoke of his Christian faith and said he doesn’t support same-sex marriage, instead describing it as “legally acceptable.”
“Are we still arguing about gay marriage? Really?” Obama, the first sitting president to publicly support gay couples having the right to marry, said during Saturday’s event at Virginia Commonwealth University. “I thought that ship had sailed. I thought that was pretty clearly the right thing to do.”
The former president also urged voters in Virginia to support McAuliffe in the Nov. 2 election, issuing a veiled warning that a Republican win would “damage” the state.
“I’m here today because I believe Virginia will make the right choice,” Obama said. “I believe America, ultimately, will make the right choice. I believe you right here in Virginia are going to show the rest of the country, and the world, that we’re not going to indulge in our worst instincts.”
He continued: “We’re not going to go back to the past that did so much damage, we’re going to move forward with people like Terry leading the way.”
McAuliffe, who is seeking a second term as governor and currently holds a slim lead over Youngkin in polling, issued his own rebuke to his opponent’s comments.
“As governor, I worked my heart out to keep Virginia open and welcoming to all,” McAuliffe tweeted on Oct. 22. “This type of bigotry and intolerance has NO place in our Commonwealth.”
McAuliffe added that he was “proud to be the first Southern governor to officiate a same-sex wedding” and that he would “ALWAYS stand up for marriage equality here in Virginia.”
“We’ve come too far to go back now,” he added.
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