In a historic moment Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama voiced support for same-sex marriage, becoming the first sitting commander-in-chief to do so.
Over the past few years, Obama had said his views on the issue were "evolving," but never expressed open support—just the belief that gays and lesbians should have access to the same civil rights as married couples.
But today—on the heels of a state ammendment in North Carolina that outlaws gay marriage—Obama spoke in support of same-sex marriage with ABC News.
(Watch the clip here.)
"I've just concluded that for me personally it is important to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," he said.
Obama noted staff members and soldiers he knows who are in committed, same-sex relationships with children were an impetus for his change of heart.
Obama's stance is one several in his party and administration have recently championed. Vice-president Joe Biden announced earlier this week while on Meet the Press that he is comfortable with gay marriage.
After Obama's statement, senator Nita Lowey (D-Rockland/Westchester) soon echoed his stance.
"I have been blessed to have a long and happy marriage," she said. "I strongly believe all Americans deserve that same opportunity."