President Obama’s been attributing some of his so-called “evolution” on same-sex marriage to his daughters. As he told ABC’s Robin Roberts:
You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table, and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and, frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.
So where do Obama’s daughter’s independent friends come from? Like most tweens the likeliest answer is school–in their case, Sidwell Friends. It’s not unlikely that the “evolution” owed something to the Quaker environment there.
Most elite Quaker schools have only a token base of Quaker students and teachers, so we can’t assume that Malia and Sasha’s friends are Friends. Like many outward-facing Quaker institutions, modern Friends schools’ strongest claim to Quakerism is the values and discernment techniques they share with the wider world. They consciously transmit a style and pedagogy and create an environment of openness and diversity. Of course the Obama kids are going to rub up against non-traditional marriages at a East Coast Quaker school. And no one should be surprised if they bring a little of that back home when the school bus drops them off at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
NYTimes: Obama Girls Influence the President — Again
President Obama often uses his daughters, Malia and Sasha, as object lessons in explaining his reasoning behind important policy positions.