Obama Approves Gay Marriage

5/9/2012, 9:58 p.m.

President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that he believes gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.

"I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and I sensed that for a lot of people, " Obama said in an interview with Robin Roberts, host of ABC's "Good Morning America," where he added that some of his daughters' friends have parents who are same-sex couples.

"Over the course of several years, as I talked to friends, family and neighbors and when I think about members of my own staff or incredibly committed monogamous relationships . . . or those marines or sailors out there fighting on my behalf . . for me personally, it is important to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said.

His comments make Obama the first sitting U.S. president to publicly support gay marriage.

Meanwhile, the president had been under intense pressure lately to lay out a clear stance on same-sex marriage after Vice President Joe Biden and other top advisers endorsed the issue.

During his 2008 campaign, Obama had been opposed to same-sex marriage. But I explaining his previous reluctance on May 9, he said he'd had hesitated on gay marriage, in part because, " I thought civil unions would be sufficient... And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word 'marriage' was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth."