Nightly News | May 09, 2012
WILLIAMS: you might expect, the president's remarks have triggered a lot of reaction and response on the air, on the Web . We have more on that reaction and the evolution of this issue tonight from NBC 's Anne Thompson .
ANNE THOMPSON reporting: To ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on any day is special, but to do so on this day, also International Family Equality Day , was historic for Rick Sweezy and his twins.
Mr. RICK SWEEZY: Finally, like my family is justified.
THOMPSON: Rick is engaged to Nick Scandalios , his partner of 11 years. The president's personal support of gay marriage , he says, sends a very important message.
Mr. SWEEZY: It's just we are a family just like every other family.
THOMPSON: The shift in American attitudes happened relatively quickly. Just eight years ago nearly two-thirds of Americans opposed same-sex marriage. Today almost half the country supports it, the opponents dwindling to 40 percent.
Unidentified Man #1: I think it's a bad thing for the leader of this country to say, a bad thing to support and it goes against God's commands.
THOMPSON: Today, gay relationships are part of the cultural mainstream. JCPenney 's catalog includes lesbian moms.
THOMPSON: On TV, "Modern Family," America 's favorite comedy, features gay characters, following in the footsteps of " Will Grace " and Ellen DeGeneres ' historic coming out 15 years ago.
Ms. ELLEN DeGENERES: I'm gay.
Ms. GLENNDA TESTONE (New York City LGBT Community Center Executive Director): We have more in common than we do that separates us. And, you know, I think that people are realizing that and it's really making an impact on this country and it's really fueling the discussion around marriage.
THOMPSON: Yet what's happening in some of America 's homes is not being reflected in the nation's statehouses. Thirty-nine states define marriage as between one man and one woman, 30 of them by constitutional amendment.
Unidentified Man #2: I think marriage is between a man and a woman and it just needs to remain that way.
THOMPSON: Both supporters and critics of same-sex marriage will be watching for reaction to the president's remarks today, personally supporting a modern definition of family, determined not by gender but by commitment. Anne Thompson , NBC News,