President Obama supports gay marriage, local politicians weigh in

President Barack Obama says he now supports same-sex marriage, ending months of equivocation on a subject with powerful election-year consequences.

Obama says he has concluded that it is important for him to affirm that he thinks same-sex couples should be able to get married. He says he came to the conclusion over the course of several years of talking to family and friends.

This statement from Obama comes just one day after voters in North Carolina passed a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

Obama has previously said his personal views of gay marriage were evolving, a stance that frustrated gay rights supporters.

Obama revealed his support for gay marriage in an interview with ABC News that aired Thursday morning on "Good Morning America." A few excerpts of the interview also aired Wednesday night on "World News with Diane Sawyer."

Watch a clip of the President's interview.

Obama says in the interview, "You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation that they believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it."

When it came to making his decision, according to an ABC blog post, Obama says that at the root of his decision was his faith and "also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated."

25th District Republican Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle accused the President of "dividing the American people" by "distracting from the real issues", which she said is the economy and jobs. Buerkle says the definition of marriage is "one man and one woman."

Buerkle's Democratic opponent, Dan Maffei issued a statement: "I applaud the President for his statement today, every American deserves equal rights, including those rights associated with marriage. I am pleased that the President has followed Governor Cuomo's example, and that New York State already recognizes these rights."

23rd District Democratic Congressman Bill Owens also issued a statement: "I am in favor of civil unions and equal rights, and I believe this is an issue that should be left up to the states to decide. This is an issue that was laid to rest last year for millions of New Yorkers when Republicans and Democrats in Albany voted for marriage equality."

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Owens opponent Matt Doheny said in a statement: "I'm surprised and dismayed by the president's announcement. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. And up until now, the president agreed with me. This â??evolutionâ?? smacks of political opportunism, especially in light of Vice President Biden's comments and the clear statement made by North Carolina voters banning same-sex marriage last night. The federal Defense of Marriage Act - which was signed by a Democratic president, incidentally - should continue to be the law of the land. Our current congressman - and now, our president - are wrong to support a repeal."

A spokesperson for 24th District Congressman Richard Hanna said he would not be issuing a statement at this time.

Meanwhile, this has sparked a lively debate on the CNY Central Facebook page.

"Amen!," Mark Delaney commented. "Maybe now more people will open their eyes and realize it doesn't matter if it's between a man and a man, woman and woman, or man and woman! Equality for all!"

Jennifer Denton questions the president's motives, writing,"interesting that he now supports it, in an election year? please."

What do you think about President Obamaâ??s decision to publically show his support for same-sex marriage?

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)

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