President Obama has made history by becoming the first sitting U.S. president to pose for the cover of an LGBT magazine.
Obama is on the cover of Out magazine’s latest Out 100 issue as the publication’s “Ally of the Year.”
“The 44th President of the United States is our Ally of the Year—a president who came to office on a wave of euphoria, appeared to lose momentum halfway through, and has since rallied, helping us secure marriage equality, among other landmark initiatives that are transforming our place in America,” the editors of Out wrote in an article accompanying the cover.
Obama granted a wide-ranging interview to the LGBT publication, weighing in on his administration’s focus on LGBT rights, the “generational difference” in his daughters’ attitudes toward homosexuality and the role the United States could play in challenging the human rights records of more restrictive regimes in Middle Eastern countries.
Obama told the magazine his fight for equality began “from when I was a kid, because my mom instilled in me the strong belief that every person is of equal worth.”
At the same time, growing up as a black guy with a funny name, I was often reminded of exactly what it felt like to be on the outside. One of the reasons I got involved in politics was to help deliver on our promise that we’re all created equal, and that no one should be excluded from the American dream just because of who they are. That’s why, in the Senate, I supported repealing DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act]. It’s why, when I ran for president the first time, I publicly asked for the support of the LGBT community, and promised that we could bring about real change for LGBT Americans.
Obama also said he “wasn’t surprised” by the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges earlier this year, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
“Well, I try not to guess how the Supreme Court is going to rule,” Obama said when asked if he expected the Supreme Court’s decision, adding:
But even before the decision came down, one thing was clear: There had been a remarkable attitude shift — in hearts and minds — across America. The ruling reflected that. It reflected our values as a nation founded on the principle that we are all created equal. And, by the way, it was decades of our brothers and sisters fighting for recognition and equality — and too frequently risking their lives or facing rejection from family, friends, and co-workers — that got us to that moment.
Obama also offered some advice for the “Kim Davises of America.” Davis, a Kentucky court clerk, was briefly jailed earlier this year for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, citing her Christian beliefs.
“I am a man of faith and believe deeply in religious freedom, but at the end of the day, nobody is above the rule of law — especially someone who voluntarily takes an oath to uphold that law,” Obama told the magazine. “That’s something we’ve got to respect.”