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Obama's Gay Marriage Stance: The Religious Fallout

Soon after voicing his support for same-sex marriage to be legalized, President Obama called ministers and pastors to explain his decision.


According to The New York Times, some ministers were not enthusiastic about the president's decision and a few said it would make it harder for them to support his re-election. Ultimately, according to Rev. Delman Coates who was on the call, most of the ministers agreed to "work aggressively" on behalf of Obama's campaign.

Coates said, "Gay marriage is contrary to their understanding of Scripture," noting that not everyone agreed. "There are people who are really wrestling with this," he said, according to The Times.

After Obama announced his stance, the administration began reaching out to religious leaders and voters, trying to minimize the fallout.

USA Today reported that Obama's announcement might especially impact the black vote, as African American voters and churches have long opposed gay marriage. In 2008, Obama won 95 percent of the African American vote.

Dwight McKissic, senior pastor at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, said, "President Obama has betrayed the Bible and the black church with his endorsement of same-sex marriage," according to USA Today.

On the other hand, pastor Enoch Fuzz, of the Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church of Nashville, said he supported gay marriage, stating "I know many in the black community have trouble accepting gay marriage. But all of us have gay friends or family, and we love them."

A Gallup poll released on Monday showed that 54 percent of American adults said "gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable," including 66 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans, while 42 percent thought they were morally wrong, according to Politico.

According to Gallup, the changing attitudes made Obama's stance much less controversial than it would have been four years ago, but the pockets of resistance include Republicans, those older than 55, Protestants, Southerners and in some cases, men.

The latest CBS/New York Times poll showed that 62 percent of Americans believed that same-sex unions should be recognized by law in some form, with 38 percent of respondents supporting marriage and 24 percent supporting civil unions. Of those surveyed, 33 percent said same-sex couples should not be legally recognized. The poll found that Democrats and younger people sided in favor of gay marriage.