MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Wednesday was an historic day in the United States, as President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to endorse gay marriage. After years of riding the fence on the issue, the President took a stand…one the Gay community has been waiting to hear for decades and those against gay marriage are sure to rally against.
First Vice President Joe Biden, and now the President himself, saying he supports Gay Americans having the right to marry.
"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," President Obama said.
"I've watched the little snippet of the conversation about six or seven times. We have the news going to so we can watch it every time it comes on," said Will Batts.
As director of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Midtown, Batts says this is a big step towards securing equal rights, but the president's words also hit him in a very personal way. He's been with his partner 15 years and wants what his straight friends have.
"They have more rights and benefits after 10 seconds of marriage as we do after 15 years of being together," he said.
"It's a pretty awesome feeling, somebody saying they believe in you and believes you are a person, not a second class citizen," Memphis resident Kal Wilson said.
Wilson doesn't have a partner, but hopes he will one day. The President's words give him hope.
"I never thought I'd see it in my lifetime that a president would stand for it," said Wilson.
Mitt Romney said on Wednesday his opinion on the issue hasn't changed. He still believes marriage should be between a man and woman, though he did say this is a very sensitive issue, and he understands that.