MEXICO CITY (AP) — President Barack Obama’s announcement Wednesday that he supports gay marriage boosted the hopes of gay rights groups around the world that other leaders will follow his example, though opponents denounced his switch as a shameless appeal for votes.

Several countries, including Canada, Spain and Argentina, allow same-sex marriage, but far more countries ban it and dozens even prohibit consensual same-sex relations. Gay-rights groups hope Obama’s views will inspire more change.

“This is incredibly important, it’s excellent news. The United States is a global leader on everything, and that includes gay rights,” said Julio Moreira, president of the Rio de Janeiro-based Arco-Iris gay rights group. “This will force other nations like Brazil to move forward with more progressive policies.”

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.