President Barack Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to endorse same-sex marriage.
Critics say President Obama had been hedging his stance on the issue but now the president has officially said he supports gay marriage.
“It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said in an interview with ABC.
He was met with a flurry of support on Twitter, but Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney disagreed.
“I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender,” Romney said.
“Thank you President @BarackObama for your beautiful and brave words. I’m overwhelmed,” openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted.
Meghan McCain, the daughter of former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, also agreed with Obama.
“… very happy to hear the President come out in support of gay marriage,” she wrote.
But some religious groups were outraged at the president’s stance. One Conservative leader said this will surely make Obama a one-term president. And Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said, “this is deeply saddening.”
The latest Gallup poll shows that the country is split on this issue. Fifty per cent of Americans say same-sex marriages should be recognized as legal, while 48 per cent say they shouldn’t.