Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), has said President Barack Obama's announcement in support of gay marriage nudged the group in the same direction.

Bond, a long-time supporter of marriage equality, appeared on news cabler CNN Sunday night to discuss the NAACP approving a resolution which calls gay marriage a “civil right and a matter of law.”

“The issue is before us,” Bond told host Don Lemon. “President Obama brought it to the fore when he spoke about it, in effect giving people permission to talk about it and to think about I think in ways they had not. And I think for our board, we were saying to each other, 'If the president can do this, then perhaps we can do it too.'”

“It was a welcome surprise to me. I can't tell you how happy I was that this happened.”

Bond commented on a possible backlash: “Thinking people will think about it and say, 'I may not agree with it but there it is, they've done it and I support the NAACP. I always have and I'm going to continue to do so.'”

“I've been flooded with congratulations by email from people all over the country including many whom I don't know saying thank you, God bless you, we're so happy you did this,” he added.

(Related: Keith Ratliff: NAACP's board's most outspoken gay marriage foe.)