Reaction to President Obama’s statement supporting same-sex marriage was swift in the nation’s capital.
On the streets of Washington, passersby voiced strong opinions about America’s first-ever presidential endorsement of marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
“I support marriage equality, so I was very happy. It should be a universal right that you can love whoever you want to love and get the same benefits as somebody else, regardless of your genitalia,” said web designer Kate Brown:
By contrast, Washington resident Rupert Moreno says he has many gay friends, but does not support their right to marry. “I think that is an aberration. If you go that route, then the next step will be people doing polygamy. How about that? Why not also allow marriage between one man and a few women? Three? How do you like that? Or four or five?,” he said.
Advocacy groups weighed in quickly. The socially-conservative Family Research Council called President Obama’s announcement “disappointing but not surprising,” and predicted that same-sex marriage will be a major issue in this year’s presidential election.
“It is a tremendous day. The president coming out and pledging his full support for marriage equality really shows a great amount of leadership,” said Michael Cole-Schwartz of the Human Rights Campaign
He says he was elated when he heard the news. “I think there is something tremendously powerful when the leader of, not just our country, but the leader of the free world goes on television and says, ‘I value all families’. I think gay and lesbian families need the same protections. And I think about the gay kid growing up somewhere in this country who has heard his president say he can have that dream that everyone else shares of one day growing up and getting married. I think it sends a tremendously positive signal,” Cole-Schwartz said.