Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), who has long favored same-sex marriage, praised President Barack Obama's announcement on the "Rachel Maddow Show" on Wednesday.
"He's done a lot for equality behind the scenes without having a personal view, but to have Barack Obama, the president of the United States, to stand on the public stage and say, once and for all, I believe in equality of all citizens, I think, it has a very powerful symbolic effect," he said. "I think it puts the light on many people, Democrats and Republicans, who have the same personal sentiments, but haven't had the courage to come forward and say it."
He dismissed the notion that the president had finally "evolved" on the subject for political reasons. "I respect the fact that he struggled with his conscience. And I actually don't see -- for those of us who have surrendered to cynicism about politics in general -- I don't see a political advantage to this," he said. "I see a guy who was wrestling with this in his heart and the totality of his personal experiences finally brought him over a line."
He continued, "I wish he was there a long time ago, but i still give him a tremendous amount of credit for crossing that line and finally calling it like it is, in the midst of a very difficult election."
Booker has refused to perform marriages at Newark City Hall because same-sex marriage is not legal in New Jersey. While the state allows civil unions, a bill to legalize gay marriage passed the legislature, but Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed it, saying he wanted to put the matter to a referendum.
Watch the full interview here: