Huffpost New York

Obama's Gay Marriage Support Elicits Strong Response From New York Leaders

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As news of President Obama's support for gay marriage broke on Wednesday, New York's top politicians reacted to the historical civil rights milestone.

In a press release, Mayor Bloomberg praised the announcement as a "major turning point in the history of American civil rights," calling attention to the unprecedented move made by a sitting American president. "Freedom will triumph over fear," he added, "and equality will prevail over exclusion."

The mayor has been a vocal supporter of gay rights and once threatened to halt funding to Republican senators who didn't back the city's gay marriage bill in 2011.

Governor Cuomo met with Obama on Tuesday when the president visited Albany, but said they avoided the topic of gay marriage, and that it wasn't his place to dictate the president's decisions. "This is a major advancement for equal rights in this country," Cuomo tweeted.

As for Christine Quinn, the city's first openly gay City Council Speaker, she thanked the president for standing up for LGBT rights and called for a press conference at City Hall in which she joked, "He's more than invited to the wedding" referring to her upcoming nuptials to longtime partner Kim Catullo.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also lauded the president's decision but, as The Observer notes, she probably isn't all that stunned with Wednesday's announcement. Nearly a year ago, the senator spoke to The Advocate and predicted Obama would eventually come around. When asked if he'd formally evolve his stance before the 2012 election, she answered:

Yes. Definitely. He put the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in his State of the Union address. So there’s no reason why he can’t lean into marriage equality in a public speech or through some action he could do through the White House. I’d be thrilled if he decided to do that. He did take the step of not [defending] DOMA through his Department of Justice, which is a fantastic step because it was one that he was unwilling to do in “don’t ask, don’t tell.” So it shows a shift in his willingness to use the power of the White House — the power of the administration — to change public perception and to change policy.

So I think we could get a very strong public statement out of him.

Hours before Obama's gay marriage endorsement, both Quinn and Gillibrand had tweeted their strong disapproval over North Carolina's controversial ban on same-sex marriage.

Cardinal Dolan also issued a response, and was less than enthusiastic about Obama's announcement: "President Obama’s comments today in support of the redefinition of marriage are deeply saddening," he said. "The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better." Dolan urged the President to "protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

As expected, Senator Ruben Diaz issued a statement expressing his disappointment regarding the president's decision. Diaz said:

As a conservative Democrat, I am very disappointed with President Barack Obama regarding his announcement today in favor of gay marriage...I will not be surprised if in the next few days you will see in the polls that Mitt Romney has surpassed Barack Obama. Gay marriage has been the Achilles Heel in New York State since it became law. The Democratic party has lost every single election to Republicans, even in Democratic controlled areas.

Diaz recently provoked outrage by comparing abortion to the Holocaust.