Gay rights campaigners around the world hail Obama's message of support

Published: May 10, 2012

President Barack Obama’s support for same-sex marriage in the US has been hailed by campaigners as a significant boost for gay rights around the world – but they warned there was much work to be done.

"President Obama joins the British prime minister and the new French president in backing same-sex marriage," said Peter Tatchell, veteran campaigner and national coordinator of the UK’s Equal Love campaign, which is seeking to overturn the twin legal bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.

"It’s an unstoppable global trend, with more and more countries planning to end the ban on gay couples getting married. There is growing momentum for same-sex marriage in many countries, from Cuba to Nepal, Denmark, Australia and Colombia.

"Obama’s support will boost the worldwide campaign for marriage equality and, through media reporting of his support, raise awareness of gay marriage among billions of people in every corner of the earth."

Obama’s comments came as New Zealand’s prime minister, John Key, broke his own long silence on gay marriage and said his government may consider allowing it "at some stage".

A few mostly European countries – as well as Canada, Argentina and South Africa – already permit gay marriage.

Despite welcoming the announcement, however, many gay rights campaigners pointed out that in their own countries a debate over single sex marriage had yet to even begin.

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