President Obama

President Obama on Wednesday ended nearly two years of "evolving" on the issue of same-sex marriage by publicly endorsing it in a television interview, taking a definitive stand on one of the most contentious and politically charged social issues of the day.

"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," Mr. Obama told ABC News in an interview that came after the president faced mounting pressure to clarify his position.

In an election that is all but certain to turn on the slowly recovering economy and its persistently high jobless rate, Mr. Obama's stand nonetheless injects a volatile social issue into the campaign debate and puts him at even sharper odds with his presumptive Republican rival, Mitt Romney, who opposes same-sex marriage and favors an amendment to the United States Constitution to forbid it...

...Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, called the president's statement "a watershed moment in American history" that would aid efforts to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York said, "No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people, and I have no doubt that this will be no exception." [New York Times]

Watch the ABC News video interview with President Obama here.