WASHINGTON – Following President Barack Obama's public announcement backing gay marriage last week, Newsweek magazine has featured him on its front cover with the headline, "The First Gay President."
With Obama's face pictured looking skyward and a rainbow-colored halo above his head, the controversial cover leads to a story written by gay writer Andrew Sullivan -- a self-described political conservative -- who analyzes the president's backing of gay marriage.
Obama said Wednesday he supported gay marriage, reversing his position on a controversial social issue just six months before the November election and adopting a stance fraught with uncertain political implications.
The president said that after years of lengthy discussions with friends and family, including his wife and two young daughters, he now "personally" believes gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.
His views are in direct contrast to those of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who reiterated Saturday that he believes "marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman."
The boundary-pushing May 21 Newsweek issue featuring Obama, available Monday, comes after Time magazine's cover last week, which featured an attractive 26-year-old mother breastfeeding her toddler son.
The cover sparked strong reactions across the world last week and led a Newsweek spokesperson to tell the New York Post that the magazine's editor Tina Brown had viewed the cover as a challenge.
"When Tina saw the Time cover, she laughed and said, 'Let the games begin,'" the spokesperson told the Post.