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President Barack Obama Speaks on Marriage Ruling

by Erin McClam /  / Updated 

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President Barack Obama declared Friday that the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide is “a victory for America.”

From the White House Rose Garden, he said that social progress sometimes comes in small increments, “and then there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”

“America should be very proud,” he said.

In a landmark decision, the court ruled 5-4 that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Justice Anthony Kennedy, delivering the majority opinion, wrote that people seeking the right “seek not to denigrate marriage but rather to live their lives, or honor their spouses' memory, joined by its bond.”

Obama called the lead plaintiff in the case, James Obergefell of Ohio, to congratulate him. Obergefell took the call while he was being interviewed live on CNN.

“Your leadership on this changed the country,” Obama told him.

The president himself endorsed same-sex marriage in May 2012. On Friday, he took note of the swift progress toward marriage equality in the United States.

“An entire country realized that love is love,” he said. “What an extraordinary achievement, but what a vindication of the belief that organizary people can do extraordinary things.”

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