President Barack Obama has publicly come out in support of gay marriage, the first time in history that a sitting U.S. President has ever done so.
Obama, who during the last presidential election stated that he opposed gay marriage, gave the news to ABC News' Robin Roberts in an interview that will air on ABC's “Good Morning America" on Thursday.
"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,” Obama told Roberts.
The news comes just days after Vice President Joe Biden said he supports gay marriage.
“[W]e believe it truly represents what so many Americans are really feeling about LGBT relationships. His evolution is not unlike the experiences of thousands of people who have come to know that the struggles, the triumphs, the ups and the downs of LGBT couples are remarkably like their own. In fact, they are the same,” Equality Pennsylvania posted to its Facebook page Wednesday as part of a statement applauding the president for his support.
“Now that the President has spoken out, expect most, though certainly not all Democrats in the Senate to speak out too,” posted Gay Marriage for Pennsylvania to its Facebook page Wednesday with a link to an article about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joining Obama’s support for gay marriage.
However, some do not share the president's new view on gay marriage. Dave Norris, a retired steelworker and registered Democrat, told the Associated Press that he does not support same-sex marriage.
"I would hope it would hurt him, but in today's society, there's nothing sacred," Norris said of the president's recent public statement.
While Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has not yet made a public statement in regards to the president's interview, he does not support same-sex marriage and the Republican-controlled Legislature has not approved any bills in favor of gay marriage.
Sens. Casey and Toomey
The announcement increases pressure on other Democrats, such as U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (PA) to support equality in marriage. Equality Pennsylvania President, Adrian Shanker, 25, of Bethlehem, told the Morning Call that his organization will continue to push the issue.
Casey told The Philadelphia Jewish Voice in 2005 that he does not support gay marriage, but would not support a constitutional amendment to ban it. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) voted in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.