RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Mixed opinions from locals on President Obama’s endorsement today of same-sex marriage, and a political expert said that the president’s stance on gay marriage could cost him black votes in Virginia.
Jerry Williams, a fan of President Obama was thrilled to hear the endorsement on Wednesday, that the president gave in an interview with ABC News. [Web Extra: President Obama comes out in support of same-sex marriage, full story.]
“..It's important to me to affirm that same sex couples should get married,” said President Obama.
Williams has lived with Mark Reed for at least 22 years. “I call Mark my husband, and not my partner,” he said.
“I think he’s [Obama] always been for gay marriage, he`s just been hesitant to say it,” said Williams. “I think the times are right to push him in that direction.”
Many wonder if this direct position will help or hurt Mr. Obama in swing states like Virginia.
“There's a number of consultants and strategists who might be worried,” said CBS 6 political expert Dr. Bob Holsworth.
Holsworth said that in Virginia the response will be somewhat of a wash.
He thinks the direct endorsement will help President Obama among young voters, for instance on college campuses where polls show many are in favor of gay marriage. But he said Republicans may try to mobilize black social conservatives who voted for the president in 2008.
“Particularly some of the people in the churches who have been very much against gay marriage,” said Holsworth.
A recent Washington Post and ABC network poll found that 55% of blacks oppose gay marriage, as opposed to 43% whites.
“I will rethink my vote,” said Rodney Eaton. He’s the black pastor of New Timothy Baptist Church Ministries in Richmond, and he voted for President Obama in 2008.
Eaton said that the president’s stance on gay marriage has put him in a precarious situation.
“Because here we have the first African-American President, then we have God's laws,” said Eaton. “So, what are we going put first? I’m always going to put God first.”
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