President Barack Obama came out in support for gay marriage Wednesday, and Los Angeles leaders rejoiced with gay rights supporters in a chorus of cheers and statements praising him for his political and moral courage.
Soon after the news broke about Obama's "evolving" views, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa contrasted the President's support for gay equality with North Carolina's new constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Only a day after the disheartening passage of Amendment 1 in North Carolina, the supporters of marriage equality now have a reason to celebrate. With his inspired declaration of support for same-sex marriage, President Obama has significantly advanced the cause of human rights and equality in the United States. We look forward to the day when all Americans – gay and straight – are free to follow their hearts and marry the person they love. If we truly believe in family values, we should value all families.
Three mayoral candidates, who like Villaraigosa have long been gay rights supporters, praised Obama for his statements.
"We all deserve to love who we want to love and marry -- this right should be applied to all Americans," said Councilwoman Jan Perry to The Huffington Post. "I join President Obama in standing up for equal rights and supporting gay marriage."
Councilman Eric Garcetti issued this statement on his Facebook page:
Today, our President moved us closer to fulfilling the promise of equality and fairness upon which our nation was founded. When you put the politics aside, it's simple: when two people love each other and want to get married, it's nobody's business but their own.
City Controller Wendy Greuel told HuffPost, "I applaud President Obama for his announcement today and stand with him in support of marriage equality." She also expressed the hope that the President's personal views could lead to an impact in policy down the road. "Today the President reaffirmed that the struggle for equal rights is ongoing and will continue until there is full equality for all" so that "committed couples can enjoy the rights, responsibilities and respect that marriage brings."
She also tweeted:
Thrilled to see that President Barack Obama is supporting marriage equality! latimes.com/news/politics/…
— Wendy Greuel (@Wendy_Greuel) May 9, 2012
Members of the West Hollywood City Council spoke to WehoDaily about their reaction to the historic news.
For West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang, Obama's new views confirmed his status as the presidential candidate for supporters of gay marriage equality. "His record over the past 3 ½ years in office has demonstrated a strong commitment to equal rights for all Americans, including equal rights for the LGBT community ... We, the LBGT community, must now show our strong commitment to ensure that he is reelected as our Nation’s leader."
West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran affirmed support for the President, but noted that it could come at some risk to West Hollywood residents. "He took an extraordinary risk with his statement. We will now be alert in West Hollywood for potential political blowback from those who might retaliate against our community."
For Californians, the happy news about the President's new stance on marriage equality was tempered by the fact that gay marriage is still illegal in the Golden State.
"California and North Carolina and other states will look back in 10 years and be ashamed that this was ever an issue," said Joey Caroni, a gay Redondo Beach resident, to the Los Angeles Times.
The President's affirmation of the dignity of all families raised hopes for a federal law that would strike down all state prohibitions against gay marriage. "That’s freaking great," said West Hollywood resident Keith Resnick to the Times. "Hopefully we'll get federal recognition and it doesn’t matter what North Carolina says."
Hollywood celebrities reacted strongly to Obama's news on Twitter, thanking the President for "getting it right" about gay marriage and "no longer living in the past":