President Obama called the Supreme Court's decision affirming the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry a "victory for America" that had "made our union a little more perfect."
In the 5-4 decision, Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion of the court, saying the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
"Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle — that we are all created equal," the president said at the White House Rose Garden following the announcement of the decision in Orbergefell v. Hodges.
He said that often progress on the journey to equality "comes in small increments. Sometimes two steps forward, one step back."
"And then sometimes there are days like this, when that slow steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt," he said.
"When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free," the president said, acknowledging that "Americans of good will continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue."
"For all our differences, we are one people – stronger together than we will ever be alone. That has always been our story," Obama said.
"Today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we made our union a little more perfect," he said.