Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday reiterated that he opposes same-sex marriage, a few hours after President Barack Obama said for the first time he supports it.
"My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman and that's my own preference," Romney told reporters in Oklahoma. "I know other people have differing views. This is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues, but I have the same view that I've had since running for office."
Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage on Wednesday in an interview with ABC. The announcement prompted a flurry of responses, from Democrats praising his statements to Republicans decrying them. (See the slideshow below for some reactions.)
Romney said he supports states' rights to make decisions on domestic partnership benefits, including hospital visitation. Obama, while saying he personally supports same-sex marriage, also said the issue should be left to the states to decide.
Romney's comments were far more measured than some other Republicans, who have openly accused the president of disrespecting religion and using the issue for political gain. Former GOP candidate Rick Santorum, for example, put out a statement shortly after Romney's remarks that claimed Obama "has consistently fought against protecting the institution of marriage from radical social engineering at both the state and federal level."
When asked whether Obama flip-flopped on same-sex marriage -- an accusation Romney has some experience with -- the presumptive Republican presidential nominee acknowledged the president's change, but said he'd leave the significance for others to decide.
“I believe that, based upon the interview he gave today on ABC, it said that he had changed his view, but you’re a better judge of that than I am," Romney said. “I just saw the reports that he had previously said he opposed same sex marriage and now, according to ABC News, he said that he supports it. So if that’s the case you’ll have to make that determination on your own."
Romney told a local Denver TV station earlier on Wednesday that he opposes both same-sex marriage and civil unions.
"Well, when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name," Romney told Denver Fox affiliate KDVR-TV.
Below, reactions to Obama's announcement from around the political world: