Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney: "Benefits and so forth of various kinds could be determined state by state. But my view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that's my own preference. I know other people have differing views. This is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues. My view is the same as it's been from the beginning. I don't favor civil unions if it's identical to marriage, and I don't favor marriage between people of the same gender."

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.: "I've long believed that people should be able to enter into loving, committed marriages regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And I'm glad the President agrees."

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said it "shows how out of touch [Obama] is with values of American families. In every state where marriage has been on the ballot, traditional marriage has prevailed."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.: “We are a country that was founded on equality of rights and I agree with the President’s comments today. Nothing in his statement changes the ability of religious institutions to decide whether or not they perform same-sex marriage.”

Retired Minnesota businessman and politician Wheelock Whitney: "Across this country, people are reaching the conclusion that it is wrong to make it illegal to marry the person you love. As a Republican, and as a man who has a son and a grandson who are gay, this is a positive development in America's conversation on what marriage means and how the freedom to marry is intrinsic in our nation's dedication to the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Wheelock is a member of the Steering Committee of Minnesotans United for All Families, which opposes the constitutional amendment that would essentially ban gay marriage in the state. The issues will appear on the November ballot.

Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage and a leading supporter of the constitutional amendment approved in North Carolina on Tuesday: "Politically, we welcome this. We think it's a huge mistake. President Obama is choosing the money over the voters the day after 61 percent of North Carolinians in a key swing state demonstrated they oppose gay marriage."

Rodney Mondor of Portland, Maine, who is raising a 12-year-old son with his partner of 13 years in a state that will be voting in November on whether to legalize same-sex marriage: "Wow -- that was wow."

Julio Moreira, president of the Rio de Janeiro-based Arco-Iris gay rights group, said Obama's statement was important because "the United States is a global leader on everything, and that includes gay rights."