President Barack Obama has become the first President to publicly voice his support for same-sex marriage.

In an interview with ABCNews, Obama stated plainly his support for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. The announcement comes in the wake of the passage of an amendment in North Carolina banning same-sex marriage.

The President has received widespread criticism for what many viewed as a reluctance to voice support for marriage equality. But such concerns have officially been put to rest with today’s announcement.

From the Huffington Post:

“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,” he said. “

Though a huge victory for the gay rights movement, the President’s announcement is definitely a gutsy, risky move during an election year.

“Of course, there may be drawbacks to such a strong expression of support. While recent polls show that popular support for marriage equality is gaining widespread acceptance, some pivotal swing states remain largely opposed to the concept. And one of them, North Carolina, remains a major target for the president’s reelection campaign.

‘The question is, is there a risk?’ a prominent Democratic Party official who requested anonymity told The Huffington Post after Biden’s remarks. ‘It is not nationwide [polling] we are talking about. We are talking about Virginia, North Carolina and other swing states. And we are talking about, would Karl Rove and his team stoop to using horribly grotesque and hateful tactics … and would that peel off 10,000 votes?'”


Check out video the President’s announcement to ABCNews below

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