Less than 24 hours after North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, President Barack Obama spoke out on his stance on the issue, and became the first president to openly support same-sex marriage.
That news was welcomed by gay and lesbian rights activists in Connecticut.
"I think it makes a lot of sense," said Joe Mustich, 58, of Washington.
Mustich, who is a justice of the peace, has been with his husband, Ken Cornet, for 33 years. They've had a partnership, a civil union in 2005 and a marriage in 2008, Mustich said.
Because of all the legal steps they've had over the years, they simply celebrate the day they met -- Sept. 7, 1979.
"I can't keep up with all the dates," Mustich said.
Although he was pleased with Obama's declaration, he said Obama could have stated his support earlier.
"I think he should have come out a little sooner," he said. But Mustich said he appreciated Obama's timing considering the ban passed in North Carolina.
Irene C. Olszewski, an East Hartford lawyer specializing in gay and lesbian rights, also thought Obama's timing was right and gave him credit for taking the stance during an election year.
"I think it was very brave of him," Olszewski said.
She said his endorsement could both help and hurt him at the polls. While his lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and transsexual supporters may be happy, his seriously religious conservative supporters might have a problem with it.
Olszewski said people have their rights to religion until their views trample on the civil rights of others.
The president's supporters may feel stronger about him being the right person for the job, while critics may use his views as evidence against him, Jellison said.
One supporter, Liz McGovern, 54, of Bridgeport, who is married to Judy Eckert, said she believed Obama had always supported same-sex marriage because policies he's approved have supported gay and lesbian people, such as ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," she said.
"He's done more than any other president," in regards to gay rights, she said.
But taking his stance on same-sex marriage during an election year was a risk, McGovern said. "It may cost him the presidency," he said.
Some Twitter users said Obama might lose black and religious voters for supporting same-sex marriage.
But Kevin D. Ginyard Sr., said only a small population of "very ignorant" and "shallow-minded" people would stop supporting Obama because of his declaration.
Ginyard, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Bridgeport and a pastor of Holy City Church of God in Christ in Bridgeport, said he would not stop supporting Obama even though he disagreed with same-sex marriage.
Ginyard, however, said he did not vote for Obama to be his religious leader, but to help rebuild the economy and provide equal opportunities for all Americans. "I didn't elect him to be my pastor," he said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued a statement praising Obama for his stance.
"I applaud President Obama's support for same-sex marriage," Malloy said in a statement. "This is an historic day for civil rights. Equal rights should be granted to all. We in Connecticut agree."
A Public Policy Polling survey conducted in September 2011 showed that 55 percent of the state's voters support legalizing same-sex marriage, while 32 percent said it should be illegal and 13 percent were unsure. The same poll showed 81 percent surveyed supported legally recognizing same-sex couples.
Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Connecticut's only openly gay statewide elected official, said he was "very much pleased" by Obama's stance.
"I am happy to hear him articulate it in the way he did," Lembo said. "He laid out his contemplation and thinking and was very clear and to the point on how he got to where he is."
Lembo said he also appreciated how Obama discussed the struggle he still faces meshing his current views with the Christian beliefs he was brought up with. "It was very genuine and heartfelt," Lembo said.
Earlier Wednesday, Lembo called on fellow Democrats to use their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., this summer to protest the vote on same-sex marriage. He expressed concern that Democrats would be tacitly showing support for the it by holding the convention there.
"I'm pleased the president said what he did, but the fact remains we are heading to a city that may or may not want us there," Lembo said. "It is an opportunity to demonstrate our values as a party and possibly make a difference there."
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.