President Obama finally came out of the closet over his stance on marriage equality. Obama declared his unequivocal support of it, saying "it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."
He now becomes the first president in the history of the United States to publicly back same-sex unions. The endorsement clarifies his position on the issue, often source on criticism from the LGBT community who wanted him to take stronger stance in favor marriage equality. Previously, the president stated his thoughts on the matter were "evolving."
"I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient," Obama said in an interview with ABC News. "I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word ‘marriage' was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth."
The announcement also puts the issue center stage in the 2012 presidential campaign and pacts political risks. Current polling data suggests the country is fairly split. Just yesterday, voters in the swing state of North Carolina approved an amendment to the state's constitution banning same-sex unions.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney opposes gay marriage.
Earlier in the week, Vice President Joe Biden told NBC's Meet The Press he's "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex couples being granted the same rights as heterosexual ones. And Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also publicly voiced his support of marriage equality on MSNBC's Morning Joe.