President Obama said in a speech Wednesday night at the White House that homosexuals should be treated like all other Americans.
The president has gone on record opposing same-sex marriage, but he sought to navigate a middle position by saying the matter shouldn't be decided by the federal government.
Obama touted his administration's accomplishments on behalf of the gay and lesbian community, including doing away with the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy and refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
"I've met my commitments to the LGBT community," he said. "I've delivered on what I promised."
"Now that doesn't mean our work is done," he added.
CBN News spoke with political analyst Ford O'Connell about the president's commitment to the gay community and how it could impact 2012 elections. O'Connell is co-founder of ProjectVirginia, a group that specializes in using social media for political action. Click play for his comments.
The president didn't explain how his personal feelings about gay marriage have evolved, but he praised the process in New York that led to legalized gay marriage in that state.
"What gives me hope is the deeper shift that we are seeing," Obama said. "That's a transformation not just in our laws but in the hearts and minds of people. It's playing out in legislatures like New York."
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised Sen. James Alesi, R-Perinton, for being the first Republican state senator to back same-sex marriage.
"Senator, I think you will go down in history books as the legislator who helped turn the tide on marriage equality, not only here in New York state, but I think this is going to spread across the country," Bloomberg said.
However, traditional marriage supporters won't give up the fight.
The National Organization for Marriage has pledged $2 million to target seven state senators who switched sides.
"In order to change policy on marriage, we're going to have to change personnel in Albany - starting with the turncoat senators who made promises to their constituents on marriage and then voted the opposite way," NOM President Brian Brown said.
Meanwhile, it appears the president has changed his position on defending DOMA in court.
In February, he instructed Attorney Gen. Eric Holder to stop defending the law. Now government lawyers say he's instructed them to defend the law until Congress or a court strikes it down.