Ferndale LGBT Center 'Encouraged' by Obama's Support for Gay Marriage

'We hope more of our straight allies will do the same,' Affirmations program director says of the president's statement on same-sex marriage.

It was a normal day at in Ferndale on Wednesday afternoon when the LGBT community center got word of some major news: President Barack Obama had just announced his support for same-sex marriages.

"We were all in the middle of our work day here doing what we're doing on an everyday basis. All of a sudden everybody was getting Facebook notices and texts about Obama making the statement," said Johnny Jenkins, Jr., director of programs at Affirmations. "It was a pleasant surprise to everybody and everybody's excited."

In an interview for ABC's Good Morning America, which will appear in full on Thursday, Obama became the first president to voice his support for gay marriage.

"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, 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 told Good Morning America.

Read more about what Obama said in this Huffington Post article.

Jenkins said the president's statement is important. "We're very encouraged by the president finally making the decision to go ahead and be in support of gay marriage," he said. "We hope more of our straight allies will do the same."

But there's much more work to be done, Jenkins said.

"We're still cognizant of the fact that you can still be fired in the state of Michigan if you identify as [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender] and you can still be denied housing," Jenkins said. "It's great that the president has come out in support of gay marriage, but that's just one of many issues that still need to be addressed in our country."


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