The day after North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, President Obama has made his official position on the matter clear: He supports marriage equality.
On Wednesday, Obama told ABC News: "It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."
Obama is the first sitting president to back gay marriage. His views have changed over time -- he has previously said he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, though he supported civil unions for gay and lesbian couples -- but his recent announcement will not likely have an immediate effect on public policy.
In his ABC interview, Obama 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."
To celebrate the news, we're sharing 11 fascinating new findings from a recent survey by HuffPost blogger and same-sex wedding expert Bernadette Coveney Smith, who polled 500 engaged or newly-married same-sex couples in 2010 and 2011.
Legal marriage rights are rare in the U.S. but very important to LGBT couples, even if only symbolic. Many LGBT couples, even if they plan a large celebration in their home state, travel to a state where same-sex marriage is legal, for the ceremony part. They're not just having not non-legal commitment ceremonies.
This isn't surprising given that 43 percent of those surveyed are between the ages of 32 and 50, ages at which even the most supportive parents are less likely to foot the bill.
I was surprised at this number because I work with many couples who have no emotional support from their parents. A closer look shows that 16 percent of couples have no support from either family and 15 percent have the support from only one set of parents.
Lots of same-sex couples like to break the "rules" when planning their wedding. It's very common to have no wedding party.
The options for legal same-sex marriages in churches are pretty limited so most choose to have the ceremony at the reception venue.
Again, with the rule breaking...
When there's no bride, what's a gay groom to do? Enter the space together with his partner, of course...
When there are two brides, who goes down the aisle last? Who is the center of attention? Thirty percent of lesbian couples like to both be the center of attention, opting to enter down two aisles or from two different directions.
<a href="http://gawker.com/5900817/when-will-bridal-magazines-invite-same+sex-couples-to-the-party" target="_hplink">Most wedding magazines</a> have yet to catch up to the gay wedding thing so it's not surprising that, as a result, same-sex couples don't turn to them for advice.
The top three ways same-sex couples find wedding vendors are: 1) Google search terms like "New York Gay wedding photographer"; 2) word of mouth; and 3) gay wedding directories such as <a href="http://GayWeddings.com" target="_hplink">GayWeddings.com</a>. Finding wedding professionals who are LGBT-friendly is very important (since many are not) to these couples. A fully vetted vendor is very important, which is why many couples rely on "gay wedding" specific search terms and directories, in addition to the always important word of mouth.
Of course if those gay-owned businesses stink at their jobs, same-sex couples are happy to work with LGBT-friendly straight wedding professionals. But if the talent is there and the business is gay-owned, then three quarters of same-sex couples want to make the deal!