In a landmark statement, President Barack Obama became the first president to support same-sex marriage. His comments, shared in an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, were released Wednesday.
"I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally," Obama told Roberts, in an interview that will air in full Thursday morning on "Good Morning America."
The Huffington Post obtained a copy of the interview. Click here to see the president's response.
Steven Goldstein, Garden State Equality Chair, was exuberant in his response.
"I am overwhelmed with tears of joy, as our millions of other LGBT people and our millions of allies across America," he said. "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.'”
Realtor, actress, and blogger Erica Bradshaw of North Plainfield was glad to hear the news.
"We're really pleased and happy with President Obama's decision," she told Patch. Bradshaw and her partner Tevonda Hayes Bradshaw have participated in a lawsuit against the state for marriage equality. Bradshaw pointed out that her one-year old son — Teverico Barack — bears the President's first name as his middle name.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has made it clear that he opposes same-sex marriage. The President's statement is an evolution of his stated position as he campaigned and earned the presidency. It also comes on the heels of two scenarios that unfolded this week.
On Sunday, Vice President Joseph Biden told NBC's "Meet The Press" that he personally supported same-sex marriage. Meanwhile on Tuesday evening, North Carolina passed an amendment that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
President Obama voiced disappointment with the decision in North Carolina. Wednesday, pressure from gay-rights activist began to build for Democrats to move the party's convention from Charlotte, where it will be held in August. Depite coming short of endorsing same-sex marriage before his comments to ABC, the President has overturned the military's position of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the administration has stopped defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.
U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) praised Obama’s statement.
"President Obama's support for marriage equality marks an important moment for civil rights in America. We simply can not treat same sex couples as second-class citizens in our country. Marriage equality is one of the most significant civil rights battles of our time and is critical to guaranteeing the equal protection under the law promised to every American in the Constitution. The President's support for marriage equality should inspire Congress, Governors and state legislatures to advance civil rights for all Americans."
"Short of when America becomes a land of marriage equality, this is the happiest day of our political lives. I'm on Cloud 18," added Goldstein.
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