When president Barack Obama that his views on same-sex marriage had "evolved," and that he now supports gay marriage, people across the nation speculated on the possible political impact.
But John Shields' primary emotion was happiness—and relief.
"I think it's amazing, and great that he did it," Shields said.
Shields, who served as Nyack's mayor between 2000 and 2008, was one of New York State's first openly gay mayors. Prior, Shields served as a village trustee.
In 2004, Shields and a group of other like-minded residents sued New York State for its policy of not allowing gays to marry. In 2011, the state passed legislation that reversed its standing—the Marriage Equality Act, signed by governor Andrew Cuomo, legalized same-sex marriage.
Still, Shields sees a long road ahead. He calls presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney's support of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage "appalling," and is equally put off by North Carolina's recent restriction on same-sex marriage.
"I really wish the Republicans would move on," he added.
Shields also spearheaded an effort in Orangetown, when he and nine other same-sex couples petitioned the town for marriage licenses.
Shields currently serves as .
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