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Huff Post

Sam Stein

Posted: 05/09/2012 2:55 pm Updated: 05/09/2012 7:34 pm

WASHINGTON — In a nod to a dramatic shift in public opinion, Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first sitting president to announce his support for same-sex marriage.

In a sit-down interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, Obama completed what has been a markedly long and oft-mocked evolution on the matter.

“I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally,” Obama told Roberts, in an interview that will air in full on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.

(Watch ABC’s entire clip below)

“I have to tell you that 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,” he said.

The statement constitutes an act of political bravery on the president’s behalf, as well as a major victory for the gay rights community, which has been pushing him to declare his support for marriage equality for several years. With the issue back in the news this week, the pressure intensified.

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Michael Steele: Gay Marriage Is Bad For Small Businesses

RUSS BYNUM | May 16, 2009 12:47 PM EST | AP

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

Steele said that was just an example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument weeks ago while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

“Now all of a sudden I’ve got someone who wasn’t a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for,” Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. “So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.”

As Steele talked about ways the party could position itself, he also poked fun at his previous pledge to give the GOP a “hip-hop makeover.”

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