- (Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
President Obama has announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, just days after Vice President Joe Biden announced that he was "absolutely comfortable" with allowing homosexuals to marry.
Obama's announcement has been welcomed and rebuked in equal measure across the United States. Some have praised him for finally "evolving" his opinion to support gay marriage, whereas others have rebuked his announcement as politically motivated, highlighting his decision to come out with his comments after the North Carolina vote and in advance of this year's presidential elections.
"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," Obama told ABC News.
The historic news prompted split reactions on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, and while some were supportive others were outraged.
"I am soooo PROUD of you PRESIDENT OBAMA YES YES YES it is about time. Marriage Equality is so very very important," Emmy Award winning TV show host Suze Orman tweeted.
"Historic day for justice and equality. Our United States President Obama endorses marriage equality. I rejoice in this announcement," Newark Mayor Cory Booker tweeted.
Many Christians, however, have come out to again question Obama's faith, and have rebuked his announcement.
"Very funny, very funny, Obama is going against Christian faith, Jewish faith, and Muslim faith (which I'm sure makes most of the America). All of that to gain more votes, hilarious, never thought he would stoop to this level!" Sheriyar Naman wrote via Facebook.
"Cannot throw away the Word of God. Standing up and loving one another does not mean I have to throw away Proverbs 31, Genesis 2, Malachi 2:14-16, Song of Solomon, 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, Ephesians 5:22-33, God's covenant, commandments, etc.," Facebook user Edward Morales wrote.
"This is END-TIME, Beware!" Facebook user Evang John Dove wrote.
Others took a more lighthearted approach in sharing their views on Obama's announcement.
"Can I marry my dog I love him too," Facebook user Clifton Aquilina wrote.
"Giambusso from The Ledger asked me 4 a statement re: Obama & marriage equality. I told him I'd give him one as soon as I stopped dancing," Newark Mayor Cory Booker tweeted.
"He should start by encouraging his daughter into it," Facebook user Tom George wrote.
Many commenters claimed that Obama could no longer be trusted as he has changed his mind on marriage so many times over the years, indicating he lacks an understanding of the issue to make a clear and lasting decision.
In 1996, running for Illinois State Senate, Obama said: "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."
However, by 2004, Obama had already conducted a complete 180 on his previous comments. Running for U.S. Senate in Illinois he said: "My religious faith dictates marriage is between a man and a woman, gay marriage is not a civil right."
This was a stance he maintained as he became president of the United States, and in 2008 while running for president he said: "I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman. As a Christian it's also a sacred union."
But after just two years in office he became more unclear in his convictions. In 2010 he famously made "on-the-fence" comments saying: "My feelings with this are constantly evolving, I struggle with this."
Now he has seemingly done another 180-turn and as he looks to win a second term in office has said: "I think same sex couples should be able to get married."