WASHINGTON (BP) — In his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama praised nationwide legalization of same-sex “marriage,” warned against overemphasizing the threat posed by the terrorist group ISIS and touted American exceptionalism.
The hour-long address made no reference to abortion-related issues, including the attempt by conservatives to withdraw government funding from Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider.
On three occasions during the Jan. 12 speech, Obama referenced homosexuality.
First, the president said employing America’s “unique strengths as a nation” was “how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love” — a reference to last year’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex “marriage.” Following a second, passing reference to homosexuality, Obama praised a hypothetical “son who finds the courage to come out as who he is and the father whose love for that son overrides everything he’s been taught” as examples of what Martin Luther King Jr. called “unarmed truth and unconditional love.”
Regarding ISIS, Obama said the Islamic terrorist group “can do a lot of damage” but does not “threaten our national existence.”
Among Obama’s other emphases:
- Climate change is both an environmental concern and an economic opportunity, he said, noting the growth of wind and solar energy technologies.
“Even if the planet wasn’t at stake,” Obama said, “… why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?”
- The Iran nuclear deal represents “principled diplomacy,” he said. Iran “has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium, and the world has avoided another war.
Obama did not mention 10 U.S. Navy sailors who were captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Jan. 12 after their boats drifted into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf, CNN reported. The sailors were released Jan. 13.
- Obama expressed hope he and Congress can work together in 2016 on criminal justice reform, drug abuse treatment programs and anti-poverty initiatives.
The president concluded his speech, “I believe in change because I believe in you, the American people. And that’s why I stand here confident as I have ever been that the state of our union is strong.”