LGBT community in tears over Obama support for marriage equality

President Obama’s personal support for same-sex marriage drew praise and tears from some in the FilAm gay community.

“I am just in awe. I am just in tears,” said film critic Mau Feria on hearing Obama come out in favor of same-sex unions after years of hedging his comments.

Comedian Rich Kiamco, who recently married his partner of many years, wrote on Facebook: “Had a little teary-eyed moment from Obama standing up for marriage equality. Took guts to do the right thing.”

Many lauded Obama for bravely adding his voice to the debate on whether people of the same gender should be allowed to marry and be eligible for the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. He becomes the first sitting president to make his position known unequivocally, which stunned many even within the gay rights community. He also adroitly framed the issue as one of equality as social conservatives have always labeled same-sex marriages as unnatural.

Earlier, Vice President Joe Biden openly endorsed same-sex marriage, prompting speculation that his statement was either a trial balloon or that Biden had spoken out of turn.

“It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said in a May 9 interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts. Obama admitted his views were inspired by his daughters Malia and Sasha who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, and who are beginning to question why those parents are being treated differently.

Kevin Nadal, a professor, psychologist and activist, cautioned against a surplus of exuberance, saying Obama’s declaration will not end the persecution of LGBT people. He said LGBT and gender-nonconforming people “continue to be discriminated against on systemic, institutional, and interpersonal levels.” He told the story of how a transgender friend was strip-searched and humiliated by airport security as the friend was coerced into choosing a gender.

“Same-sex marriage isn’t just about allowing LGBT Americans to get married to each other; it’s about advocating for basic human rights for all people,” he wrote for PolicyMic. “So while I believe that President Obama taking stance on supporting same-sex marriage is a step in the right direction for LGBT rights, I believe it is merely one step.”

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