U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday shifted his stance and declared his personal support for same-sex marriage.
The pronouncement came in an interview with ABC News set to air this afternoon as well as on Good Morning America Thursday morning.
According to ABC's transcript, Obama emphasized that this position was a personal one, and not a policy statement.
Obama's pronouncement came after two weeks in which two members of his leadership team, Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, declared their own support for same-sex marriage.
According to The New York Times, Obama said he was confident more Americans would come to embrace his position in the year's ahead, but he acknowledged his own switch from only supporting civil unions, rather than same-sex marriage.
“I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient,” Obama told Robin Roberts in a White House interview. “I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that invokes very powerful traditions and religious beliefs.”
A number of prominent politicians and gay rights came out in support of Obama's decision. So far, opponents have been quiet, but they're expected to weigh in soon. Obama's announcement also comes the day after North Carolina voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in their state.
In a press conference later Wednesday afternoon, Mitt Romney, Obama's likely Republican challenger in November, said his views on same-sex marriage are the same as they were when he was Massachusetts governor.
"I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman," he said.