Overheard on CNN.com: How does same-sex marriage factor into voters' decisions?
President Obama, shown at a February event, hasn't backed Vice President Joseph Biden's support of same-sex marriage.
May 8th, 2012
06:17 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: How does same-sex marriage factor into voters' decisions?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

President Barack Obama has expressed views on same-sex marriage that CNN opinion columnist LZ Granderson has called an "awkward dance," whereas Vice President Joe Biden has expressed support. Granderson, who is gay, asserts that Obama is keeping his conscience in the proverbial closet. The issue is in the spotlight because North Carolina's primary, among three happening Tuesday, includes a referendum that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. The state currently does not permit such unions. What's your take? Share your view on video via CNN iReport.

Obama keeps his conscience in the closet

Two iReporters weighed in on the issue with video commentary. Mark Ivy of Farmersburg, Indiana, says he is gay and in a long-term committed relationship. He also expresses his independent political views frequently on CNN iReport, and said he believes the issue should be decided by the states rather than federal government.

Compared to other things, the marriage issue is a "blip on the radar," Ivy said. He indicated that he doesn't want politicians "pandering" in order to capture "our vote."

"Our time will come, but during this presidential election, the LGBT should keep its eyes on the more needy issues of the economy, jobs and the national debt."

Another iReporter, Egberto Willies of Kingwood, Texas, said he supports Barack Obama and believes the issue is important, but that will come in time.

"His position on same-sex marriage does not weaken my support," Willies said. "It means we must use several avenues to exert pressure to ensure he comes to the right conclusion eventually."

Willies described his political philosophy like this:

"I am not a one-issue voter. I look at every politician as an empty vessel that will ultimately follow his base if made to. It is incumbent then on those that elect a particular president to ensure he fulfill most of his promises by keeping the pressure on him and ensuring that he fears the political repercussions of not doing so."

We saw commenters write in support of same-sex nuptials.

Phange: "I am a conservative and pro-gay marriage. I'd think any real 'government is too big and too powerful' conservative would think the same thing. But I guess parties have more influence on political thought than core political ideology. This is a country predicated on freedom. You should be free to love and marry any consenting adult you want, and no religious text or government law should prevent it. As for perversion, it was considered perverse for women to wear pants in the 1950s. "

Some said they believe Obama is not standing up for his convictions.

LordWorld: "You're learning now that President Obama is a weasel in sheep's clothing? President Obama is from the Chicago school of politics: Say whatever to get elected and then do whatever makes your friends happy. Apparently, his friends are indifferent to gay marriage, so not going to happen."

Now, turn that around. What about people with the opposite view?

jray11: "When Obama is against gay marriage he's obviously doing it for political reasons according to LZ and the other Obamap-bots, but when a Republican is against gay marriage, he is obviously a religious zealot who reads the Bible every day and hates gays."

adm55: "I think Mitt (Romney) is probably liberal on gay rights too, given statements he made as governor. However, he certainly wouldn't make it a priority for fear of alienating his base and not winning re-election."

One reader admitted they are still examining their views.

ezduzit757: "Personally, I understand where the president is coming from when he says he is evolving on this issue. I, too, am evolving as are a great number of Americans. Older folks grew up in a world where they were taught that being gay was wrong, weird, perverted. It is hard to turn around what you were taught growing up. It becomes a part of you, deeply ingrained in the core of your being and difficult to get beyond. As much as my brain knows that gay people are just like anyone else and deserve the same right to love whomever they want, as much as I am completely supportive of gay civil unions along with all the rights that come with that, something in the core of my being makes it difficult to accept the word 'marriage.' My brain and sense of fairness are trying to get me there, but I’m not there yet, and I think the older you are, the more difficult it is to get there. Probably some of us will never get there, but with each generation there is more and more acceptance of the differences in people."

Another said they don't understand why people of the same gender want to get married.

Norton18: "What's wrong with letting heterosexuals have marriage? Gays can have the same legal rights in a union by another name. What is wrong with that? Just giving it another name would make a lot of objections go away because to a lot of heterosexuals it doesn't feel right when a same-sex couple says they are married. It doesn't feel right because the word marriage defines a conventional union between a man and a woman. It seem like gays don't just want equal rights, they want to redefine the English language."

This person said they believe Obama is afraid to alienate some of the demographics that support him, which Granderson alludes to in his column: "Is throwing support behind equality worth alienating voters? Maybe not."

checkurfacts: "Obama cannot support gay marriage. ... He would lose a bunch of that vote if he supports it. News flash, this president does nothing without a vote calculation."

But this reader said Obama has little to gain from discussion of same-sex marriage.

nickmach: "What Obama is saying with his silence is that a debate over gay marriage would be a godsend to the Republicans. There is nothing more delicious to Republicans in Washington than the thought of an 18-month-long debate over gay marriage. That debate would be, of course, destined to result in nothing. The Republicans in the House would defeat it. The Republicans in the Senate would block it."

Can the president "multitask," as one reader puts it?

skyjmpr: "Really, given the number and gravity of broader societal issues, does this REALLY matter? On my list of 10 things of concern to me, it ranks right up there with number 15 or 16. Do I believe a same-sex couple can live in a committed relationship, at least as well as a mixed-sex couple? Yes. Do I believe that a same-sex couple should enjoy the same economic and legal benefits as a mixed-sex couple? Yes. Do I believe this rises to the level of a 'screaming issue'? Sorry, no. Every moment spent on this is a moment that cannot be spent on broader, more generally impactful issues screaming for solutions."

Jason Johnson Frederick: "Thanks for your support skyjmpr, but as a gay man in a 13-year relationship, I would like to think it REALLY does matter, at least to me, and that it is further up on the list than 15 or 16 ... but even if it isn't, it's still a major social issue that should be on the radar. The president is the leader of the free world and should be able to focus on more than one or two issues at a time. I voted for him hoping he could multitask. I hope he can."

What's your take? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

    Seperate but equal has worked so well in the past...do we ever grow up?

    May 9, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. JC

    Call the official union of two consenting adults civil unions for everyone. Those that choose to get a church involved can call it marriage if that makes them feel better.

    May 9, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

      I second the motion

      May 9, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Moderate12

      Good idea! That would preserve the religious definition of Marriage for those who choose, and all others can be legally committed in a Civil Union equally.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. tampamike

    Everybody knows its gay people's fault that straight marriages don't work right? So we need to blame gay men and women for all the cheating and stuff that causes marriages to fail. Its obviously because of gay people !Protect marriage! deny gay rights!
    what a country, you have to laugh!!!!

    May 9, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. hamsta

    Marriage is an agreement between 1 man 1 woman and 1 God. government is nowhere in that agreement. God destroyed sodom and gammorha for a reason. where do you think the word sodomy comes from? who tries to convince you they have a better way than Gods way? SATAN.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

      So don't have a relationship with someone of your same gender if that is what you believe. The point is you are stating what _you_ choose_ to_believe_. Some people believe in polygamy, some believe in life long abstinence, some believe in nothing at all. Please explain to me why we should legislate YOUR belief.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

      @ hamsta-
      Would you please answer my question?

      May 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TheAntiChrist

    Hey 'Hamsta', not everyone gives a crap about god, especially your personal god for that matter... If a higher authority does exist, I'm sure they have little tolerance for their measly creations running around purporting to know the ins and outs of celestial reasoning... While you were unfortunately 'blessed' with a low IQ, you must have at least been granted a heart – try to use it.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scottish Mama

      Archaelogical evidence and egyptian writing says they were destroyed by a meteors.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Stop, SM..
      That's too logical...

      May 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @banasy- live ling and prosper- I must be a vulcan.lol

      May 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moderate12

      Just because someone believe in God doesn't mean they have a low IQ! Shame on you for being to narrow minded and attempting to deny someone's religious freedoms. Your name calling and belitting shows your lack of intelligence too.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • WHOOSHED

      He can't. He loves the role of the Fly, buzzing around irritating people with the same BS on site after site after site. Pathetic
      little creature. Dislike everything. except, perhaps the little ones....

      May 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hamsta

    God destroyed sodom and gammorha for a reason. where do you think the word sodomy comes from? just further evidence that the obama administration is intentionally destroying america.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scottish Mama

      @hamsta- the bible was written by men, 100 or more years after Jesus lived. It was written with the selection of men with a vision to keep what they felt was important to keep men and women in the vision they thought was right.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hamsta

    @pete ya the race baiters did a good job oe paintin zimmerman as a white man. check out the story about two white journalists in virginia that were beaten by a black mob. where are all the race baiters for that one? wheres all the outrage now that 15 black thugs beat up a white woman? oh yeah, i forgot only white people can be racist. maybe thats why they painted zimmerman white.

    May 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Gavin

    I can understand how Barrack feels about coming out and suporting gay marriage at this time. Why should he make any commitment before the election and risk losing. After all he will have more flexibility after the election just like he explained to the Russians at their recent meeting.

    May 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

      Who the heck is "Barrack"?

      May 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hamsta

    @ scottish mama you are speaking of the new testament. the old testament was written 700 or more years before that. i would consider a meteor shower concentrated on only the gay cities an act of god. the eggheads with all of their scientific stuff still cant figure out if the tunguska explosion was an asteroid a meteor or aliens.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scottish Mama

      If it was written 700 years before that. it was 600 years before christ. Jesus was not born then. You state facts that are just off the top of your head to prove a point

      May 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hamsta

    my mom ran a daycare from 1975 till 1988. what made her quit? the book of rules and regulations went from 46 pages to more than 6000 pages requiring her to hire a lawyer to steer her around all the contradictions in terms and double standards. thats to show all you liberals what regulating everything gets you.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

      Yeah! That Ronald Reagan – what a liberal socialist!

      May 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Can you put a price on protecting children?

      May 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      And yet you think everyone should live their lives by the bible, hamsta??? THERE'S a contradiction if I ever heard of one!!!

      May 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Ohhhhh, you're right, OF COURSE there should be no checks and balances so you consevratives can do whatever the heck you want! You're right! You mom got out of the business because she was doing something illegal, and got caught. End of story.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hamsta

    @scottish mama ya that post was directed at you since you think deregulating things is bad for business. your problems lay elsewhere. deregulation aint the problem.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scottish Mama

      Since the deregulation was your point, mine is the deregulation was the direct problem which made the banks fail. It was not only bad for business it proved to be the major factor in the homelessness and need for more help with the starving and needing more assistance. I would have thought that being a God fearing person you would have more compassion for the needy and the poor. Instead you side with the part of our government that chose to cripple it.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @ hamsta-"your problems lay elsewhere" nothing like an insult. Please explain?

      May 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • kathy

      Dont say aint cause aint, aint a word and aint, aint in the dictornary!!! remember that?? old school,lol

      May 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chrissy

    I can think of one or 2 eggheads that are in dire need of a meteor shower! Might knock the stupid right outta them!

    May 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Kevin

    Guy marriage is satanic.this is obviously the work of church of satan in america.If u dnt believe that there is God and ur conscience is not telling u otherwise then u must know that satan exist

    May 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

      Or...you could be someone with your own thoughts and ideas who doesn't live life based on good read and try to force everyone else to do the same...

      May 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. kathy

    May God be with you Mr.President,OBAMA 2012.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. chrissy

    @ mama, as he explained it to me yesterday, everyone deserves to be insulted. Or his most specific word was *whatever!*

    May 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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