Former President Barack Obama defended marriage equality at a rally on Saturday in support of Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
His comments come following an interview given by McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, in which Youngkin stated that while he is “called to love everyone,” he does not support same-sex marriage. He did, however, say that gay marriage is “legally acceptable” and that as governor he would support it, the AP reports.
“It’s like, are we still arguing about gay marriage? Really?” the former president asked the crowd. “I thought that ship had sailed. I thought that was pretty clearly the right thing to do.”
The former president on Saturday also warned the crowd that a Republican win could endanger gun control, abortion rights, and voters’ rights, the Washington Post reports.
“I understand why sometimes folks get tired,” Obama said, adding, “but here’s the thing: we can’t afford to be tired. Because of these young people right here. And the young people that are coming.”
McAuliffe and Youngkin are currently locked in a tight race for Virginia’s governorship, with The Hill reporting that the candidates are essentially tied in recent polls. Political analysts have cast the race as an indicator of whether or not Democrats, who control both chambers of Congress and the White House, will be able to hold onto their gains from 2020.
In a tweet posted following Youngkin’s comments, McAuliffe, who had previously served one term as the state’s governor (Virginia does not allow governors to serve consecutive terms) wrote, “As governor, I worked my heart out to keep Virginia open and welcoming to all. This type of bigotry and intolerance has NO place in our commonwealth.”