Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
President Barack Obama voiced his support Wednesday for gay marriage, becoming the first president to do so.
"Future generations will look back on the actions taken today to end discrimination in all of its forms as a watershed moment. Every American deserves a chance at the American Dream, with no exception. The President's actions today represent progress in fulfilling our nation's commitment to equality for all Americans."
- Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton.
"The announcement today by President Obama should come as no surprise to the American public. President Obama has consistently fought against protecting the institution of marriage from radical social engineering at both the state and federal level. The President recently opposed the North Carolina constitutional amendment and, of course, he refused to defend President Clinton's Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme court. The charade is now over, no doubt an attempt to galvanize his core hard left supporters in advance of the November election.
Thankfully the American public, when it has had an opportunity to consider the real world consequences of such a fundamental change to our society, has consistently voted for maintaining one man one woman marriage -- the basic building block of our society. I will continue to fight to make sure that the cultural elites don't further undermine the institution that gives the best opportunity for healthy, happy children and a just and prosperous society."
- Rick Santorum, former Republican presidential candidate.
"This is a major turning point in the history of American civil rights. No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people."
- New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
"That the president has chosen today, when LGBT Americans are mourning the passage of Amendment 1 (North Carolina's ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage and civil unions), to finally speak up for marriage equality is offensive and callous."
- R. Clarke Cooper, executive director, Log Cabin Republicans.
"Today marks progress for the civil rights of LGBT Americans and all Americans. With President Obama's support, we look forward to the day when all American families are treated equally in the eyes of the law."
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
"While President Obama has played politics on this issue, the Republican Party and our presumptive nominee Mitt Romney have been clear. We support maintaining marriage between one man and one woman and would oppose any attempts to change that."
- Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
"It is heartening to know the president stands with our families in the pursuit of full equality, economic security and justice."
- Rea Carey, executive director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
"In Maryland, we agree. Ultimately, we all want the same thing for our children: to live in a loving, stable, committed home protected equally under the law."
- Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md.
"President Obama's support for marriage equality marks an important moment for civil rights in America. We simply cannot treat same-sex couples as second-class citizens in our country. Marriage equality is one of the most significant civil rights battles of our time and is critical to guaranteeing the equal protection under the law promised to every American in the Constitution."
- Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J.
"What the president has done is erase the deficit of enthusiasm among social conservatives for Mitt Romney. Now there's a concern about a second term for Barack Obama and what it would mean on the fundamental issue of marriage."
- Tony Perkins, president, the Family Research Council.
"The president's statement is a milestone and so important for the millions of American families who deserve full equality. None of us can rest until marriage equality is a reality for all Americans."
- Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
"President Obama's announcement today is not surprising. He is trying to shore up his liberal base in an election year. ... I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Traditional marriage is a long-standing, common-sense American value that is the backbone of our society, and it is worth defending."
- Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.
"Thirty years from now we'll look back on this moment as monumental. ... He broke political barriers and essentially said discrimination against loving and committed same-sex couples is wrong."
- Jim Dean, chair, Democracy for America.