When he was running for president seven years ago, and appearing in a nationally televised forum held by a Christian pastor at a Christian church, Barack Obama said he believed that marriage was a “sacred union” that was “between a man and a woman.”

On Tuesday night, in his State of the Union Address, Obama said that legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States is one of the things he has seen that represents “America at its best.”

“I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long,” Obama said. “I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best.

“I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California, and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, New London,” he said. “I’ve mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown, in Boston, in West Texas, and West Virginia. I’ve watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains, from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in 10 Americans call home.