President Obama on Friday delivered a powerful speech addressing the Supreme Court's decision to end state bans on same-sex marriage, saying the ruling "reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to equal protection to the law; that all people are treated equally regardless of who they are or who they love."
"If we are truly created equally, surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," he said, adding that it was gratifying that this principle was enshrined into law today.
Obama said that the ruling was a a victory for the plaintiffs of the Supreme Court case, for the gay and lesbian couples who fought for their civil rights, for children whose families would be recognized as equal and for friends and supporters who worked and prayed for change to come.
"This ruling is a victory for America," he said.
"This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free."
Obama said that those celebrating today's victory should be "mindful" that others in the country who oppose the decision hold "sincere and deeply held beliefs." He urged people to "recognize different viewpoints; revere our deep commitment to religious freedom."
He added, however, that the decision showed that "real change" and a "shift in hearts and minds" was possible.
"There's so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to every American," he said. "But today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we've made our union a little more perfect."
Obama attributed today's momentous decision to millions of people across decades "who stood up, who came out, who talked to parents — parents who loved their children no matter what."
He acknowledged those who endured "bullying and taunts" and who "slowly made an entire country realize that love is love."
"Those countless, often anonymous heroes — they deserve our thanks. They should be very proud. America should be very proud."