Today, Barack Obama became the first sitting president to come out in support of same-sex marriage and extending the rights and responsibilities of marriage to all citizens, regardless of their sexuality.
He joins many of us - SEIU included - who have long supported marriage equality and the right of all families to receive the benefits of equal protection under the law. Back in 2004, our union made winning equal rights and benefits for all our members a priority in bargaining and legislative campaigns. We were also the first international union to endorse marriage equality.
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry applauded Obama's announcement and issued a statement on behalf of SEIU, saying:
"There is growing momentum for equality in this country. And with each American that believes in equality, we are reminded that the continued dream of equality is our birthright, our heritage and our promise.
"For anyone who counts equality among the basic tenets of a free and just America, President Obama's announcement in support of marriage equality today is a victory."
This is a huge moment for lesbian and gay Americans, our progressive allies and truly, all Americans who believe that our country stands for more than political rhetoric and slogans.
For those of us who canvassed, phone banked and donated to help elect Barack Obama in 2008, today is also a powerful reminder of why we felt so passionately about this President in the first place. On days like today, it's not difficult to feel proud to be a Democrat.
Despite setbacks like the results that came out of North Carolina last night, the longstanding impact of having the support of the President of the United States for marriage is a powerful affirmation before all Americans of the basic human dignity of same-sex couples and their families.
ABC has the video of Obama's history-making announcement.
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