The day after North Carolinians voted overwhelmingly to amended their state's constitution to ban same-sex marriage, the president said that he disagrees.
In an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News, Obama said, "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."
The president's hand was forced when Vice President Joe Biden voiced his personal support for gay rights Sunday. Biden shined light on the White House's position on same-sex marriage - a position that had become a source of exasperation for gay rights groups who supported the president during his run for office in 2008.
President Obama had said previously that he supported civil unions in general but his "evolving" position on same-sex marriage.
That position reflected the conflicted opinions of a valuable group of voters - one that includes young people, Democrats and political independents, and minorities.
(RELATED: Where Is Same-Sex Marriage Legal?)
A 2011 study by the Pew Research Center, showed that Americans are sharply divided over whether the changes the American family - including the growing acceptance of same-sex couples - has undergone in the past half-century are good for America.