President Obama on Wednesday endorsed gay marriage, becoming the first U.S. president to voice support for same sex couples to legally marry.

Obama said he had concluded “personally” that same sex couples should be able to get married. He said he came to the conclusion after years of conversations with friends, family and neighbors as well as members of his own staff who are in same-sex relationships.

“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,” Obama said in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts.

The announcement is a landmark for the gay rights movement, which has battled for decades to win legal recognition for same sex marriages.

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