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Intelligencer - Reaction to the President's Support of Same-Sex Marriage

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By Laurie Mason and Gary Weckselblatt Staff

Local residents and officials shared their reaction Wednesday to the president's statement in support of same-sex marriage:

Stephen Stahl, New Hope

New Hope resident Stephen Stahl said he was pleased with President Obama's announcement.

"I think the president is right on target," Stahl said. "I'm very proud of his decision to come forward and support gay people."

Stahl and his former partner, Robert Seneca, made headlines in 2004 when they tried to apply for a marriage license at the Bucks County Courthouse and told reporters they wanted to get married.

Twelve Republican lawmakers reacted by suing the men, saying they wanted to protect Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act. A Bucks County judge dismissed the suit.

Stahl and Seneca split recently after 31 years together. Stahl said that he's unsure if he would wed if same sex marriage becomes legal.

"At this stage in my life, I just don't know," he said.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, Montgomery County

"President Obama demonstrated courage today in sharing his personal views on the importance of all Americans having equal rights under the law, including the legal right to marry who they love and are committed to."

U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, Bucks County
New Hope, PA

"My position has been consistent: Marriage is between a man and a woman. The Constitution is clear: This is an issue for the states. "

Geri Delevich, New Hope

Geri Delevich was having ice cream in town with the president of New Hope-Solebury's gay student alliance when the news of Obama's support of gay marriage was announced.

"We kind of jokingly said we would always remember where we were when this happened," said Delevich, longtime New Hope Borough Council member.
It's a happy announcement and a step forward for civil rights, she said.

"It really is one of the last groups in our country to be (legally) discriminated against," said Delevich, an original member of New Hope Celebrates, which represents the region's LGBTA community. The group's annual festivities and gay pride parade are scheduled in New Hope next week.

Cindy Sproul, North Carolina-based Rainbow Wedding Network

"We're very excited that he's finally "evolved' on this issue," said Cindy Sproul, co-founder of the North Carolina-based Rainbow Wedding Network, which hosts numerous Gay and Lesbian Wedding Expos throughout the country annually, including one in Newtown Township.

Obama's comments were especially welcome to her and her staff since voters in North Carolina approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage just the day before.
She said the Rainbow Wedding Network is creating an online thank you card to send to President Obama.


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