President Barack Obama, who favors legalized same-sex marriage and whose Justice Department is arguing in the Supreme Court that children need neither a father nor a mother, said today in a weekly address celebrating the Father’s Day weekend that “there will never be a substitute for” a father and that he still wishes he had had a father around when he was a child.

Obama also said in the address that he wanted to use his presidency to “encourage marriage” and that he would work with “faith” groups to encourage “fatherhood.”

“This Sunday is Father’s Day, and so I wanted to take a moment to talk about the most important job many of us will ever have–and that’s being a dad.”

“But no matter how advanced we get, there will never be a substitute for the love and support and, most importantly, the presence of a parent in a child’s life. And in many ways, that’s uniquely true for fathers,” said Obama.

“I never really knew my own father,” he said. “I was raised by a single mom and two wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me. And there are single parents all across the country who do a heroic job raising terrific kids. But I still wish I had a dad who was not only around, but involved; another role model to teach me what my mom did her best to instill–values like hard work and integrity; responsibility and delayed gratification–all the things that give a child the foundation to envision a brighter future for themselves.”

Obama said he feels a personal responsibility to be a good faher and that young people need “a strong male role model.”

“That’s why I try every day to be for Michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me,” said Obama. “And I’ve met plenty of other people – dads and uncles and men without a family connection – who are trying to break the cycle and give more of our young people a strong male role model.”

Obama then made clear he was directing his talk to parents who wre both “gay or straight.”

“Being a good parent–whether you’re gay or straight; a foster parent or a grandparent–isn’t easy,” said Obama. “It demands your constant attention, frequent sacrifice, and a healthy dose of patience. And nobody’s perfect. To this day, I’m still figuring out how to be a better husband to my wife and father to my kids.”

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