“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

In that sentence Barack Obama made history by becoming the first US President to officially endorse the legalising of gay marriage.

Days after Vice President Joe Biden publicly declared his support for same-sex marriage, the President announced his cataclysmic change of stance on the issue in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

“I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient,” Obama said. “I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that invokes very powerful traditions and religious beliefs… but it’s also the golden rule – you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

The President confirmed the news via his official twitter account which, at last count , has been retweeted this many times:

The news was trending worldwide on Twitter with several high profile social media users adding their support for the President’s announcement.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)

The President recently posted a message to his supporters titled “Marriage” on the official Barack Obama blog:

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer: I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. What I’ve come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Read his moving message in full here.

In the meantime, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has confirmed that, despite the Obama endorsement, she will continue to oppose gay marriage in Australia, to which we say: Ms Gillard, it is a very difficult thing to admit when you are wrong, but the agony of eating humble pie simply cannot compare to how great if feels when you do the right thing.

For all of you who consider Obama’s announcement an important step forward in equality and feel a little like celebrating I recommend you stop by the topical tumblr When Obama Endorsed Same-Sex Marriage for a collection of ridiculous, joyful GIFs like this: