Newswise — BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- President Barack Obama told ABC News today that same-sex couples should be able to marry, ending a two-year period in which his views on the issue were said to be "evolving." Brian Powell, Rudy Professor of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, is available to comment on the president's statement.
"President Obama's evolving view about same-sex marriage is strikingly similar to Americans' evolving views on the same issue," said Powell, who has conducted extensive research on attitudes toward marriage and family. "Nearly all national surveys indicate that half or slightly more than half of all Americans believe that same-sex couples should have the same marital rights as heterosexual couples.
"This evolution in American views has been rapid," Powell said. "Just 10 years ago, same-sex marriage was a foreign idea to most Americans. Years from now, President Obama's comments from today will be viewed as a critical historical moment in the movement toward marriage equality."
Powell's research interests focus on family sociology, sociology of education, gender and social psychology, with a focus on "atypical" family forms. He is co-author of "Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans' Definitions of Family" (Russell Sage Foundation, 2010).