FORDS - President Barack Obama is the first U.S. president to declare support for same-sex marriage.

He tells ABC, "I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient."

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey tells The Star-Ledger that Obama's announcement yesterday "represents a moral turning point," noting that the president could have chosen a safer political course and not commented publicly on the polarizing issue. McGreevey abruptly resigned in 2004 after declaring himself "a gay American" and admitting to an extramarital affair with a male staffer.

Democratic supporters are saying President Obama's decision to unequivocally support gay marriage could energize huge swaths of the party, including young people.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has reaffirmed his position, saying "My view is that marriage itself is between a man and a woman."

AP wire services contributed to this report.

Obama voices his support for gay marriage