With Obama's election win in 2008 marked a turning point from the GOP social-conservative stronghold under President Bush's leadership to a more secular and accepting government under President Obama. Even though Obama has done a respectable amount of advancing rights (such as the abolishment of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"), but when it came to the issue of gay marriage, he along with many other national Democrats hid behind the civil-union excuse.
So as we fast-forward to 2012, North Carolina just had an election to pass a constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage, along with other forms of legal partnership. Even though some liberals get elected in the state, it's still in pretty red territory so I wasn't surprised when voters decided to ban all forms of "non-traditional" legal relationships. While social-conservatives cried it was win for democracy, it also conflicts with our government values that are suppose to be based on secular reasons not religious dogma. Can we say we're a free country when our citizens can't be protected from the hatred of the times?
I always knew how Obama truly felt about the issue, but like many Democrats over the decades they have a method of "playing it safe". That's why we have Health Care Reform rather than Universal Health Care. But after Vice President Joe Biden let a comment slip out in favor of gay marriage, it only took President Obama a few days to finally come out and speak his mind.
While it doesn't make much of a difference politically, since even if Congress passed a bill legalizing it, there would be too much confliction with "states rights" especially those states with constitutional amendments. But for the symbolic reasons, I applaud the president for being on the right side of history.