Updated 05/10/2012 06:04 PM
Recently wed couple welcomes Obama's new stance on gay marriage
Here in the Capital Region, some at the heart of the issue are welcoming the President's clear endorsement of gay marriage. Our Lori Chung has more.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "We thought that the opposition was much stronger than it was," said Harold Lohner.
But as the first gay couple to tie the knot in Albany last year after same sex marriage was legalized in New York, Al Martino and Lohner found only support.
"I expected some protesters, but there weren't any, just well wishers," said Lohner. "I'm not a sentimental person, but I was surprised by how moved I was by it."
An overall cultural shift Lohner says is evident as President Barack Obama makes his support for gay marriage clear.
"It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," said Obama.
"Oh, I thought it was amazing. I couldn't believe he did it. I mean, it doesn't seem like a really great move politically, necessarily, in an election year," said Lohner.
Indeed, not everyone is celebrating Obama's change of heart. Some are calling it an attack on traditional marriage.
"People still realize that marriage is between a man and a woman," said Jason McGuire of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, who holds that traditional family values will always carry weight with voters. "Governor Romney has been a gift in the fact that those that weren't rallying around him, social conservatives, will quickly begin to coalesce around him."
Potential political fallout aside, Obama has reportedly said that states should decide the issue, meaning gay couples won't be recognized at the federal level. Lohner says he's satisfied with that for now, though filing taxes for the first time as a couple made the difference in benefits quite clear in their returns.
"Until they say to you this is what you would get if things were fairer, this is what you're going to get, it's upsetting," said Lohner.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan called Obama’s decision to endorse same sex marriage deeply saddening. But Lohner says he’s hoping the president’s announcement will win him support among those who favor civil rights.