President Barack Obama said in an interview with ABC that "it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."
With his Wednesday announcement, the president reversed his longstanding position on the issue. It came on the heels of his own vice president and education secretary saying they were in favor of gay marriage.
According to an ABC blog post, Obama further described his thought process as an "evolution" that progressed as he discussed the issue with staff members, gay and lesbian service members and his own family.
He said he thinks Americans are growing increasingly comfortable with the concept of gay marriage and cited his own daughters' views on the matter.
“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” he said. “You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents.
"And Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them, and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”Read CNN's full coverage of President Barack Obama's stance on gay marriage