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. chrissy

    @ hamsta, AND i would like to add i have NEVER called you anything other than your user name, although you do sound an awful lot like philip.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |

    Gotta go folks been nice, remember: Leave people the hell alone!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    Also last, but in no way least, since scottish mama doesnt appear to be here, i want to add on her behalf that she has always been nothing but kind to you, many times when it wouldve been easier to not be im thinking! She did NOT deserve your insults!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hamsta

    @wooshed your tax dollars dont pay for anything on my behalf. im sorry for being self sufficient and not being a drain on society. i dont recieve gov benefits of any kind. now you can go back to your food stamp dinner at the trailer park.

    May 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hamsta

    exactly what insult are you talking about? what that i called an athiest who is trying to force his opinion that god isnt real on me an egghead? again whos insulting who? god has proven himself to me. just because you cant find him doesnt mean he doesnt exist. i find it very insulting that someone is trying to force me to see that god doesnt exist because they cant find him. your friend needs god in her life. i hope she dont find him like i did.

    May 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      I think you think that because others do not believe as you they are wrong. That because I have a different opinion than you i am trying to make you not believe in your God. Not the point. I can take people as they are and not judge the way they think or feel. You become and enemy if no one agrees with you or if you are asked to prove god exits. If you cannot prove it say so and be done. But do not evoke God in every conversation and think he will solve the worlds problems. I take enitiative and solve them on my own. You need to look up facts as I have, start with Gramm-Biley-Seach Act, Steagal Glass Act and progress to the Bush administration deregulation and then The Barney -Frank act. Then address me with the knowledge of knowing what really happened. Then I will speak to you.
      Also if you would like to speak about God, but I am an agnostic. Truth sets me free and my eyes are open.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    Omg! There you go again. Whooshed did not say his/her tax dollars paid for anything for YOU, nor has anyone else! WHAT is wrong with you? Cant you be nice to anyone? And you wonder why ppl become hostile around you? Honestly, you need anger mgmt!

    May 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @chrissy – was on the thread reading about our president and his ability to say what he thinks yet again and the intolerent people of judgemental blah blah blah.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chrissy

    @ hamsta, i dont know what kind of God you have in your life, but my God is a good God, and he doesnt like ugly! Stop being ugly to people that dont deserve it! Scottish mama didnt deserve it and you should apologize to her.

    May 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @chrissy=As I have said on may posts, I have no problem if people believe in God, some may need it and it brings them hope. I have hope but prefer to make hope for others when they cannot. I am willing to take on responsibility for my actions and how I treat people. I expect others to have responsibiliity to take on the debate with the same respect I give them with their God.
      @hamsta- I hope you read the facts and get back to debate them about deregulation. See you and please use 1 name when you address everyone thank you, Scottish.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    lol mama, i was sure you werent too far away! Anyways im done talking to the brick wall. How did that kenny rodgers song go? Gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em! I fold. Lmao and THAT is the extent of my country music repetroir lol.

    May 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @ chrissy-That is one of my faults "not know when to walk away, and knowing when to run."

      May 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hamsta

    its official the great satan has spoken. if a meteor shower targets washington dc and no other place on earth im sure the atheist will come up with some scientific explanation.

    May 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hamsta

    Another obama flip flop. he just sold his soul to satan for a vote. to bad the anti christ doesnt know an overwelming majority of voters strongly oppose gay marriage. say good by to your reelection.

    May 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hamsta

    @??? thats the athiests explanation for what happened to sodom and gammorrha. when it happens and they come up with some crazy global warming crap as an explanation im just going to ask them where the word sodomy came from.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Navyguy73

    This country was founded on one of many principles and I seem to remember the one where everyone is equal (or something like that, you all know what I'm talking about). Everyone is equal. I have been in the Navy for 17 years and I'm pretty sure that I help defend all Americans, equally. We are all humans. Why is that we can't treat each other as such. No one person is above anyone and no one person is below anyone. All are equal. Get over yourselves and let everyone live their lives! By the way, I'm also a gay father of 2.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ruth

    If marriage is open to any 2 people in love, where do we draw the line...A father and a daughter love each other so very much, or a brother and a sister love each other so very much that they want to be married and live with each other for the rest of their life, adopt kids and start a family; should we also legalize such marriages?

    May 10, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
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    October 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
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