“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

- The President, who needs the LGBT vote (and $$$), as well as the youth vote in 2012

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The President’s position to date has been dodge and parry that ultimately made no sense politically. Robin Roberts in her live report moments ago, cited that President Obama’s “evolution” finally occurred because of a conversation with his daughters, who attend school with kids who have same-sex parents, and that it wasn’t a big deal.

“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president continued. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation that they believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. 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.”

Well, I guess that’s as good a cover story for the debutante debut on this matter as any. After all, Mitt Romney has staked out a position in favor of a federal marriage amendment, something that will go nowhere. It all comes down to whether either of them think this is a decision point for voters who are out of work, have lost their home or health insurance.

Even as one part of me celebrates the end of the torture, as I said earlier, it smarts sitting here in NC where his evolution is cold comfort for those of us now living under the thumb of a marriage discrimination amendment.

Being jerked around, constantly seen as an ATM, and the man can’t even state the obvious, and his surrogates continue this tap dance of stupidity over what is or isn’t an affirmation that the President believes in full equality for gay and lesbian couples. His own campaign couldn’t even lift a digital finger to tell people to vote against discrimination here in NC. The President can’t even sign an executive order barring employment discrimination against LGBTs in federal contracts.

Being able to come out of the closet and not be fired is eons more important sitting here in NC than the right to marry, but I’m sure that POV and emotional drain of this won’t carry the day among most of my fellow LGBTs celebrating the President’s statement.

The equality movement will celebrate — as it should — and move on; it will be easy to forget how hard we fought without the President’s help here. The expect the outflow of gay $$$ to his campaign will now accelerate. We’re left to pick up the pieces until the feds/courts help us here in North Carolina.

All this is to say, we’re not just a political football. Families are going to be hurt hereWell, they already are:

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James asked county staff Wednesday morning about stripping health coverage from domestic partners of gay county employees, which he termed “faux marriage benefits.”

“Now that Amendment One has passed, it obviously is illegal to offer this benefit, as there is now only one ‘domestic legal union’ recognized in the state,” James wrote in an email to other commissioners and county leaders.

Reactions from pols,  professional LGBT org reactions, as well as allied orgs, below the fold.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese:

“Today, President Obama made history by boldly stating that gay and lesbian Americans should be fully and equally part of the fabric of American society and that our families deserve nothing less than the equal respect and recognition that comes through marriage.

“His presidency has shown that our nation can move beyond its shameful history of discrimination and injustice. In him, millions of young Americans have seen that their futures will not be limited by what makes them different. In supporting marriage equality, President Obama extends that message of hope to a generation of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, helping them understand that they too can be who they are and flourish as part of the American community. And his words remind gay and lesbian families across the country, who, like their neighbors, struggle to afford healthcare and college for their kids, pay their taxes and plan for retirement –but with the added burden of discrimination— that they do not face those challenges alone and unheard.

“Americans fundamentally believe in fairness, but many, like the President, have struggled to reconcile that core belief and the question of marriage equality. The President’s words will no doubt inspire thousands more conversations around kitchen tables and in church pews.  We are confident that our nation will continue to move inexorably toward equality and we thank the President for so boldly leading us in that direction.”

Incoming HRC President Chad Griffin also applauded President Obama’s support for marriage equality, saying:

“President Obama’s words today will be celebrated by generations to come. For the millions of young gay and lesbian Americans across this nation, President Obama’s words provide genuine hope that they will be the first generation to grow up with the freedom to fully pursue the American dream. Marriage—the promise of love, companionship, and family—is basic to the pursuit of that dream. Our Constitution’s promise, the promise of liberty, is one that every generation must realize. As President Obama recognized today, the fight to secure marriage equality is the defining element of our generation’s search for greater freedom.”

Statement of Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein:

“I am overwhelmed with tears of joy, as our millions of other LGBT people and our millions of allies across America.   We will remember for the rest of our lives where we were when we heard the sitting President of the United States say he supports marriage equality.

“Today’s announcement by the President is of particular importance to those of us fighting in New Jersey and everywhere else marriage equality is up for grabs.   No longer will opponents such as Governor Chris Christie be able to take cover by saying, “Why are you going after me?  My opposition to marriage equality is simply the same view as that of our  President.”   That political cover is now thrown into dustbin of history parked outside the archives of prejudice, collecting its rhetorical trash.

“Short of when America becomes a land of marriage equality, this is the happiest day of our political lives.  I’m on Cloud 18.”

Evan Wolfson, Founder and President of Freedom to Marry:

“Today, President Obama added his voice to the growing chorus of Americans who believe that all loving and committed couples should share equally in the freedom to marry. Like so many others who have made this journey – from Bill Clinton to Laura Bush, most recently Vice President Biden, and a majority of the American people – President Obama has come to know loving and committed gay couples.  Through thought and conversation about these families and their dreams and challenges, President Obama has reflected on his own values of fairness and respect for others, and completed his journey to support for the freedom to marry.  He now becomes the first sitting President to join the majority of Americans whose hearts have opened and minds have changed in favor of the freedom to marry.

“The President’s support marks a historic turning point for the freedom to marry movement. Yet there is much left to be done.  Forty-four states continue to exclude same-sex couples from marriage and because of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the civil marriages of thousands of same-sex couples are not respected by the federal government, thus depriving families of a crucial safety-net of federal protections and responsibilities.  It is time to repeal discriminatory laws that hurt families and help no one and speed passage of freedom to marry laws throughout the country.

“Government has no business putting obstacles in the path of loving and committed couples and their families who simply seek to care for one another and for whom marriage matters.  We call on the President, members of Congress, and state legislators from both sides of the aisle, to act together to bring an end to marriage discrimination and put government at every level on the side of families, fairness, and freedom. ”

Mary Bonauto, the director of the Civil Rights Project at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD):

“President Obama has travelled a road that many Americans have travelled in recent years. Gay and lesbian couples have the same love and make the same commitment as all couples, and deserve the same recognition as full citizens. Our country’s history is one of expanding the circle of constitutional rights and protections to include more citizens, and our nation is always the better for it.”

Chuck Wolfe of the Victory Fund:

Minutes ago Barack Obama became the first American president to say he supports allowing loving, committed same-sex couples to enter into civil marriages.  I want to congratulate the president for this bold and welcome move.

This is a watershed moment for the LGBT civil rights movement, but it’s also a call to action.  A president’s vocal support for our community is a fantastic asset, but nothing can replace the hard work it will take to ensure we win the rights we deserve.

This year in Maryland and Washington state, marriage equality laws long sought by openly gay and lesbian state lawmakers were finally passed.  Those successes came after determined efforts by coalitions of national, state and local LGBT groups, as well as tireless lobbying by the men and women whose lives would be most affected by these victories.

This year we have the opportunity to greatly expand our community’s voice in government.   We will elect LGBT lawmakers who will fight for us every day.  And now they will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their president as they ask their fellow Americans for the simple protections and responsibilities that come with marriage.

SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:

“This is a great day for gay and lesbian service members, who are living with the daily reality that while they are now be able to serve openly, they and their families are treated as second-class citizens under laws like the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Certainly, the President’s leadership in repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ laid the foundation for his reaching this positive outcome. We welcome the President’s support for marriage and will work with him to repeal DOMA and all laws that undermine equality and treat our service members unfairly.”

People For the American Way President Michael Keegan:

“Today’s announcement marks a proud day for our country and for the President. For those of us who have been working towards marriage equality for many years, the impact of having the support of the President of the United States is incredibly powerful. As President Obama made clear in his comments today, marriage equality for all people is an idea whose time has come. Despite setbacks like the results from North Carolina last night, it’s more obvious than ever that the momentum is on our side.

“In recent years, more and more Americans have come to understand that preventing loving same-sex couples from getting married causes real harm to the people they care about. In families and communities across the country, Americans are coming to the same conclusion as the President: when two people make a public commitment to love and care for each other, that’s a marriage no matter what the gender of the people involved.

“Today the President did the right thing. For thousands of supporters who donated, canvassed and phone banked to help elect Barack Obama in 2008, this is a powerful reminder of why we felt so passionately about this President in the first place.”

MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini:

“As the first state to secure marriage equality for generations to come, we in Massachusetts are thrilled by the President’s announcement. It’s hard to imagine anything more significant to the marriage equality movement than the most powerful leader in the world declaring his support for the right to marry for all Americans. It’s a powerful affirmation before the country and world of the basic human dignity of same-sex couples and their families.

“The President’s evolution on marriage equality is not unlike the experience of the majority of Americans who have come to understand why marriage is so important to loving same-sex couples and their children. Listening, learning, growing, and changing is the American way, but it takes courage and leadership. We applaud President Obama for showing both today.

“We can’t help but note the irony of the President’s statement coming just one day after voters in North Carolina approved an amendment to the North Carolina state constitution that denies any form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples. Despite this setback, today marks another step forward in the unmistakable trend toward public acceptance and embrace of marriage equality.

At least seven national polls have found majority support among Americans for marriage equality. These polls, and major advances on marriage equality this year in Washington and Maryland, show that the day is fast approaching when we will finally put the politics of discrimination around marriage equality behind us. “Here in Massachusetts we have been privileged to celebrate the right to marry for just a week shy of eight years. What we’ve learned is that our communities are safer, happier, and healthier when all families are respected, supported and celebrated. As time goes on and even larger majorities of Americans come to support marriage equality, we look forward to the day when all Americans can enjoy the freedom to marry.”

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick:

“The arc of history today bent a little closer to equality for every American, After hearing the stories of countless couples and families, President Obama has drawn the same conclusion shared across party lines and by a majority of Americans today: everyone deserves the opportunity to marry the person they love. As our nation draws closer to a more perfect union in which every person is created equal, we are left deeply encouraged by this truly watershed moment.”

R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director:

“That the president has chosen today, when LGBT Americans are mourning the passage of Amendment One, to finally speak up for marriage equality is offensive and callous. Log Cabin Republicans appreciate that President Obama has finally come in line with leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney on this issue, but LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch. This administration has manipulated LGBT families for political gain as much as anybody, and after his campaign’s ridiculous contortions to deny support for marriage equality this week he does not deserve praise for an announcement that comes a day late and a dollar short.”

National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director, Jerame Davis:

“We applaud the President for completing his ‘evolution’ in support of the freedom to marry and becoming the first sitting president ever to endorse marriage equality for same-sex couples. The President joins a long and growing list of Democrats who support the freedom to marry. On days like today, I am proud to be a Democrat.

“The President’s endorsement of the freedom to marry stands in stark contrast to the position of Mitt Romney. Romney, who signed the National Organization for Marriage’s hateful anti-LGBT pledge, opposes marriage equality and supports a federal constitutional amendment banning marriage between same-sex couples. No longer can GOP homophobes like Romney hide behind the pretense that they share President Obama’s position on the freedom to marry.

“Though many have been waiting for this day to arrive, our fight is not complete. Election day is 180 days from today and we have to redouble our efforts and prove that the President’s support of marriage will not cost him at the ballot box. National Stonewall Democrats stands will be fighting every day from now until November to ensure it doesn’t.”

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“President Obama’s ‘evolution’ is now complete. Congratulations, Mr. President, for making history today by becoming the first sitting president to explicitly support marriage for same-sex couples. Who benefits? Millions of families who now know that their country’s leader believes in fairness for all. This is a great day for America.

“We celebrate this moment and also remember that the right of loving, committed couples to get married is just one of many issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It is heartening to know the president stands with our families in the pursuit of full equality, economic security and justice.”

Center for American Progress released the following statements:

Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden said, “We applaud the president’s decision as it is another large step toward realizing this country’s promise of equality. Indeed, President Obama today helped bend the arc of history toward justice. And his stance will be remembered as such.”

Winnie Stachelberg, CAP’s Executive Vice President for External Affairs, added, “President Obama made history today when he came out in full support of marriage rights for gay couples. Many Americans have thought about this issue and, like the president, have reconsidered their feelings about it. His journey is our journey.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, and the sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):

“I applaud President Obama for announcing his support for marriage equality today.  For the first time in this nation’s history, a sitting president has shown the courage and leadership to stand up for all American families by pledging to support the fundamental right of every person to marry the person they love, and to have that marriage fully respected.  I commend President Obama for this brave and honest step.  Those who seek to politicize civil rights for personal or political gain will certainly attack him, but the course toward marriage equality and justice is the correct and inevitable path.”

Jeffrey Montgomery, Woodhull Strategist and Founding Board Member

Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance welcomes President Obama to the majority of Americans who endorse marriage equality. While watching his “evolution” on this question over the last many months has been painful and vexing, his announcement today is nonetheless a happy event. Civil acceptance and full status for gay and lesbian couples who choose to marry is a basic human right that has been denied for too long.  Sooner would have been desirable, but the President is now on the right train — Welcome Aboard! Marriage equality along with sexual freedom are fundamental human rights.

Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director

Until now, the president has only favored civil unions, although he had said his views on same-sex marriage were “constantly evolving.” While in office, President Obama and his administration have taken critical strides toward LGBT equality by refusing to defend the discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in court and pushing Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and reaffirming support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

“President Obama is doing the right thing and showing leadership by recognizing that lesbians and gays should be treated as equal citizens. The freedom to marry whomever we love and want to share our life with is fundamental to who we are and what we stand for as a country. The fight for fairness and equal treatment under the law for all Americans took a critical step forward today.”

AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee and Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders:

“President Obama’s announcement today recognizes a fundamental American right – that every citizen is entitled to respect and dignity, and the equal protection of our laws.  For too long, lesbian and gay Americans have been denied the right to marry the person they love, raise a family and live as equal citizens in our country. They are denied access to pension benefits, Social Security survivor benefits, family health and bereavement leave and family immigration rights.  That discrimination harms all of us, not just LGBT Americans.  We have an obligation to work to overturn unjust laws and amendments to state constitutions that codify prejudice and promote discrimination against fellow citizens.  The President deserves praise for recognizing that this issue is about equality under the law and the right of all Americans to live their lives free from discrimination.”

Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler:

“This is a historic day for families everywhere. I am thrilled that the President has again demonstrated his firm commitment to the millions of tax paying Americans who want to show their love and commitment to each other through marriage. His support for our fundamental equality cannot be overstated.”

The President’s remarks come after a long period of public “evolution” on the issue of marriage equality. Ms. Chrisler attributes the evolution to brave LGBT couples and parents who have been changing hearts and minds all over the United States.

“We have long understood, deep in our hearts, that love makes a family, but there is no disputing that marriage strengthens it,” she added. “For more than 30 years, a generation of parents has focused on raising their children to love their country, support their friends and neighbors and treat all people with respect.  They have given these values to their children, but have been unable to provide them with simple legal and economic protections that other married couples count on for their kids.

The President has promised a new generation of children that their parents will be able to provide those protections and more importantly that their parents love and commitment to each other will be recognized, respected and valued.

President Obama has fulfilled his promise of evolving his views on marriage and history will honor his leadership on extending fairness and freedom to all Americans.”

This is also happening on a day when our families are ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Never before have LGBT families been so visible, so united, and so full of hope for the future.

Statement by NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, Esq.:

“President Obama has once again proven himself to be the strongest and most principled supporter of full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people ever to occupy the Oval Office. As he has done on so many other issues facing our community, the President showed his great depth of compassion and respect for the struggles faced by same-sex couples and their families and his commitment to genuine equality and justice for all people. This is an unforgettable day in our nation’s history, and one that will bring enormous comfort and hope to millions of Americans.”

Pride at Work:

Relationship recognition matters for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers as a basic union issue, an economic justice issue and as a social justice issue.  Thank you, President Obama, for standing up for justice and standing in solidarity with the LGBT community.

Same-sex couples take a unique financial hit because their relationships aren’t recognized under federal law due to DOMA; and they have less ability to care for and support their families in times of need.  The right to equal pay and benefits for equal work is a fundamental component of labor struggles, as is the ability to work and support one’s family with dignity and respect.

The ability of leaders and average citizens alike to have thoughtful conversation, to listen, and develop their views is part of how change happens.  We appreciate President Obama for having the grace and dignity to engage in real dialogue and ultimately stand in support of the LGBT community on the issue of marriage equality.   We look forward to continuing those conversations this year and beyond on other key issues, particularly with the vital need to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

The President’s groundbreaking statement today follows on the heels of a track record of actions that have made a real difference in the lives of LGBT workers and their families, including:

  • Hospital visitation & decision making rights for gay and lesbian couples
  • Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
  • Enactment of the Affordable Care Act, expanding access to health care
  • Signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act
  • Ensuring Transgender Americans can get their true passport regardless of surgery status
  • Ended discrimination against LGBT people in federal housing

We have more work to do.  Today, President Obama showed true leadership, and this country took a vital step forward in the march for equality and justice for all people.

Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen:

“Truth Wins Out applauds President Barack Obama for making history by becoming the first sitting president to publicly support full marriage equality,” said TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen. “This is a great day for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans and a landmark moment in the quest for LGBT civil rights.”

“President Obama’s words provide hope to millions of LGBT people, including my husband and me, that we will live to see the day when every American, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, will be able to marry the person they love,” said John Becker, TWO’s Director of Communications and Development. “In my lifetime, I have never been prouder to be an American than I am today.”

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International President Mary Kay Henry:

“Earlier today, President Obama joined a host of faith, civil rights, business and political leaders that have publicly voiced their support of marriage equality. The president’s support comes at a critical moment as the rights of LGBT people are under legislative attack in Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina and elsewhere. The president understands what we do – marriage equality is about family, community, love and justice.

“Across this country, right-wing Republican politicians are seeking to divide us with attacks on immigrants, the middle class, women’s health, the environment and the LGBT community – but the growing numbers of Americans who believe in marriage equality reminds us that we cannot live up to our promise as a nation until we extend equal rights to all.

“To those who have chosen to stand on the wrong side of history, we say this: There is growing momentum for equality in this country. And with each American that believes in equality, we are reminded that the continued dream of equality is our birthright, our heritage and our promise.

“For anyone who counts equality among the basic tenets of a free and just America, Pres. Obama’s announcement today is a victory.”

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka

“Working people believe in equality and fairness and that’s why we are happy to stand with millions of Americans and with President Obama in supporting marriage equality.

LGBT working people face numerous inequities in the workplace and in society as they struggle to care for their families. Civil unions do not guarantee the 1,138 rights, benefits and responsibilities that are triggered by the word “marriage” under federal law.

Most important, we should respect and honor our friends, neighbors, and family members who want to take care of their families and their loved ones – whatever their sexual orientation. We are proud to come together for a more just America.”

PFLAG:

“Today, history was made. President Barack Obama took an historic step as the first American president in office to recognize the importance of the freedom to marry for ALL couples. He joins a majority of Americans who believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to create a loving, lasting and legal partnership—marriage—with the person they love, regardless of sexual orientation.

The President now understands what PFLAG has said for 40 years: that there is power in sharing personal stories and that, when we do, hearts and minds can truly change as we realize our shared values of love and commitment. The president has sent an important message to LGBT people, their parents, families, friends, and allies: that they are accepted for all that they are, that their enduring, loving relationships are the same as all others.

For all of us at PFLAG who believe in the power of love and acceptance, the message the president sends to our LGBT children is loud and clear: You are loved. You are accepted. You are equal.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten:

“Today President Obama took the right and just position on marriage equality. As president of the AFT and as a gay American, I strongly support President Obama for his bold action.

“America’s greatness has been based in large part on our continual journey toward equality. President Obama’s action today on marriage equality continues that journey. I am proud to lead an organization that has, from our founding, stood firm against discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, physical disability or sexual orientation. The fight for civil rights not only in the workforce but also in every aspect of American life, is ongoing. Every American is entitled to equal shares of equality, liberty and happiness.”

Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition:

“It is an honor to witness our President take such a strong stand in support of gay and lesbian couples across the country,” says  “This affirmation reinforces the Administration’s ongoing commitment to LGBT Americans and our families.”

The President has had an exemplary record advancing protections for the LGBT community. However, he explained that his position on marriage equality had been changing and had not explicitly proclaimed his support of extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples until now. Despite the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” ending the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), endorsing the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) and more, President Obama had been under increased pressure for his self-described “evolving” position on marriage equality when Vice President Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with marriage for loving and committed same-sex couples.

“As my (s)hero, Barbara Jordan, once said, ‘one thing is clear to me: we, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves,’” Lettman-Hicks adds. “Here is President Obama, the nation’s first Black president, taking a position that no sitting president in history has had the fortitude to ever take. If anyone in America has ever wondered what courageous leadership looks like, here it is.”

Congressman Barney Frank:

Earlier this year, President Obama took a major step towards vindicating the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to marry when he announced his refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act’s blatant discrimination against us.

Today he has taken the next logical step to complete the process by expressing his support for our right to marry people of the same sex.  I understand why a President facing a national election took some time in making this decision, and I believe that the fact that he first announced his repudiation of DOMA gave him a chance to assess the reaction to that.  I know there are those who wish that elected officials would completely ignore public opinion – of course only in those cases where they do not agree with public opinion – but that is not a realistic course in a democracy for those seeking to get the authority from the public to govern.

This does not meant that the President’s decision today was entirely without some political risk, but I believe it will be clear in the days ahead that this will cost him no votes, since those opposed to legal equality for LGBT people were already inclined to oppose him, and that it will make it easier for us to mobilize the people in this country who oppose discrimination to help reelect him.

Fred Karger:

“I applaud President Obama for his strong statement and support for gay marriage today. We welcome him to the fight. He will be a great advocate as we do battle in four states this November.

His timing is particularly helpful in light of the loss we suffered yesterday in North Carolina.

It’s nice to have another presidential candidate on board for full equality.”

Matt McTighe, the campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage:

“The president told a compelling story about how he and his family have talked about same-sex marriage around the dinner table, and how he came to change his mind. The president said he based his decision on the Golden Rule and realizing upon reflection that same-sex couples want to marry for similar reasons as other couples,” McTighe said. “Those same conversations are happening at dinner tables all around Maine.”

“Our campaign has talked to more than 60,000 people and we’re hearing their stories,” McTighe said. “In November, Mainers will be able to vote ‘Yes’ on marriage for same-sex couples. Like the president did today, thousands of Mainers are changing their hearts and minds to support the freedom to marry for all loving, committed couples.”

PFLAG:

“Today, history was made. President Barack Obama took an historic step as the first American president in office to recognize the importance of the freedom to marry for ALL couples. He joins a majority of Americans who believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to create a loving, lasting and legal partnership—marriage—with the person they love, regardless of sexual orientation.

The President now understands what PFLAG has said for 40 years: that there is power in sharing personal stories and that, when we do, hearts and minds can truly change as we realize our shared values of love and commitment. The president has sent an important message to LGBT people, their parents, families, friends, and allies: that they are accepted for all that they are, that their enduring, loving relationships are the same as all others.

For all of us at PFLAG who believe in the power of love and acceptance, the message the president sends to our LGBT children is loud and clear: You are loved. You are accepted. You are equal.

Lambda Legal Executive Director, Kevin Cathcart:

“We welcome the news that President Obama understands the importance of equality for all people in this country and we are excited that he joins the majority of Americans in supporting the freedom to marry.

“There is no bully pulpit bigger than the President’s, and loving, committed same-sex couples across the country – and all of us – thank him for using it to speak up for justice and fairness. The momentum for marriage equality is building across the country. When people have a chance to think deeply about marriage equality, they come to the right answer – that discrimination against our families is wrong.

“There’s so much more work to be done. Right now, Lambda Legal is fighting in the courts for marriage equality in New Jersey and Nevada. There will be more fights at the ballot in November.

“In my thirty years working in the LGBT movement, it has become easier to recognize watershed moments – and this is one. And we know we’re winning because these watershed moments are beginning to happen closer together.”

Related:

* Will he or won’t he – rumors the President will address his marriage equality ‘evolution’ today