Local reaction to Obama's support for gay marriage

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The President's support of same sex marriage is getting a lot of reaction here at home.

Jeff Wells and Mac Pence said their "I do's" in front of friends and family in 1999, then tied the knot, legally, 3 years ago in Boston.

"Jeff is the joy of my life and we're on, we're a family," said Mac Pence.

"Mac is the center of my world," said Jeff Wells.

Born and raised in the Commonwealth, the couple says they know Virginia — like North Carolina now — bans same sex marriage, but is thrilled to see the president taking a position on the issue.

"It was very validating of our identities...that certainly is historic and courageous on his part," said Wells.

It may be a bold move for the president, but according to political analyst Dan Palazzolo, this could mean a bigger battle in this already split state.

"Social conservatives are now going to be even more motivated to vote against the president," said Palazzolo, "I think, at least for a while, he'll face some criticism for having changed his mind, so to speak," he said.

Conservative group The Family Foundation thought the move was calculated, saying:

"President Obama is busy pandering to his dwindling base in an election year. It's the sign of a desperate candidate."

But advocacy group Equality Virginia said they, "applaud President Obama's decision to support full marriage equality."

"In this case it seems like Obama wanted to take a position on an issue which they knew was going to be in the news," said Palazzolo.

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