In an interview with ABC News, President Barack Obama has declared his unequivocal support for gay marriage, becoming the first president to endorse the divisive subject.

Speaking with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president said “I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient” and added that he “was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word `marriage’ was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.”

The declaration introduces yet another hot button topic during the 2012 presidential race.

Obama said he came to the conclusion after years of talking with friends and family. But he refused to take a clear stance on the issue for months before Wednesday’s announcement.

Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, said he reaffirms his view that marriage should be between a man and a woman.



Photo Credit: Pete Souza, via Wikimedia Commons