SILVER SPRING, MD (WUSA) - President Obama's public change of heart on gay marriage caught at least one same-sex couple off guard.

"I was surprised but just absolutely thrilled about what the president did today," said Julie Tagen.

It's not how she felt when she saw the Obama administration Monday apparently trying to distance itself from the pro-same-sex marriage remarks of Vice-President Joseph Biden on Sunday.

"It really felt like a calculated political move not to do it but today I'm just so thrilled because in the end it's more than about politics. It's about families and families like us and it really closes a big gap. It closes a circle in our family. There was a big gap that was there before, and now we're a true family," she said.

9News Now asked her to explain.

"We had a big gap. We had been together 15 years and we have two children and we can't get married and now, just the president affirming our relationship and affirming our family, means a lot," she said.

"It means a great deal for our families. It really does. It tells our families that we are a family, and it really does,

"The politics of it, it's always going to have politics and they'll deal with that down the road, and maybe the courts will deal with it, but just the president saying that was just fantastic," Tagen said.

The president's decision won't change her vote as much as her attitude.

"Two days ago, I said I would vote for him holding my nose.
I was definitely going to vote for him but I was going to hold my nose.

"Today I will vote with a clear conscience and feel really good about it, with confidence, whereas two days ago I think I think I would have voted and held my nose," she said.

Elsewhere in Silver Spring, the reaction of the Rev. Elwood Gray of the Peace in the Valley Baptist Church was one of disappointment.

"Does this cost President Obama the support of African American religious leaders?" asked 9News Now.

"Honestly, and this is my personal opinion, I think so. I think that it's a blow to his political career," Gray said.

African American religious leaders played a large role in fighting legislation in the Maryland state legislature allowing same-sex marriage in the state.

"So, do African Americans abandon the president this year over this issue?" asked 9News Now.

"I would think so. I don't think all of them but a significant number, a number that will hurt his political career," Gray said.

"I think that in some ways the president didn't have any choice," said American University Professor Dotty Lynch, a veteran election watcher who consults for CBS News.

"His vice-president came out very strongly on the weekend saying that he supported same-sex marriage. Members of his cabinet were saying that when asked and he was bound to be asked and it looked to all the world by just stating he was evolving on this that he was just ducking the question, so in order to put it behind him, I think he did the only thing he could do politically and that's to say that he supports same-sex marriage," she said.

But why now?

Well, I think two things have happened. One is that the vice- president's statement on the weekend was so strong and got so much attention, not just saying I support same-sex marriage but being much more specific about men marrying men and women marrying women, got a lot of pickup.

"Number Two, the polls have changed on this. In many recent polls now, a majority support same-sex marriage, so he's not particularly on the wrong side, although there are still a lot of people opposed.

"But, thirdly, almost all of his supporters inside the White House, some very key financial supporters, some of whom are going to be at the big fund raiser that George Clooney is holding for him out in Hollywood, are very strong advocates of same-sex marriage, so he had a lot of motivation to do it sooner rather than later," Lynch told 9News Now.

"The risk is twofold; one is voters in swing states who are culturally conservative but are still undecided might take this as an indication that they aren't on the same side as the president is.

"Mitt Romney has come out very clearly on the other side of this issue, so you have an issue has been joined and there may be some voters who are up for grabs who don't agree with the president on this and feel uncomfortable," Lynch said.

"There are not a huge number of people who say this is the only issue that matters, but there are people who feel very intensely on both sides and, especially on the anti side.

"Probably 30 percent of the American People are not only against same-sex marriage, but strongly against same-sex marriage. So, for them, it may be the number one issue or at least one or two, with the economy being the major one and for most people the dominant issue," she said.

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