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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Obama's opinion on gay marriage is not "evolving."
    I support Obama, but he is full of it.
    Obama is one of the most transparently opportunistic politicians I've ever seen.
    He wants the gays' votes, so he says his opinion is "evolving" and has Biden say that the VP accepts gay marriage.
    This whole thing is bull, from electing a president to Trayvon's mother's T-shirts.
    Go live in Europe, where there actually has been evolution of mentality.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • TimM

      Joey, everything you have mentioned is useless....based on this comment: "I support Obama, but he is full of it."

      May 9, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    It is not the government's business to see that each person has a job.
    I set myself up in a job.
    It's important for each person to do that.
    A me, non importa. Posso parlare abbastanza bene per abitare in Italia o Francia.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. veteran

    Oh JIFFER settle down my friend we all have different opinians.your the best JIFFER.You set yourself up with work same as me.Still dont know why you back obama

    May 9, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. veteran

    Oh jiffer settle down my friend. Your the best and always will be.Stil dont know why you back obama but hey its you that has to pull that lever.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. veteran

    Sorry bout the multiples there guys awfully late

    May 9, 2012 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. jon

    Gay rights are not even in the top 20 of issues facing our country, this is just another fake war by Democrats to divide the nation. Gays make up but 2% of the population but garner way more news coverage than they should. Gay marriage is a non-issue.

    May 9, 2012 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      2% of the population is 6.4 million people, or more. That's a pretty significant number. Besides, since when should the size of a minority dictate whether or not the issues facing them get put on the table? It shouldn't. As a gay man who wants to be in a committed relationship recognized by the state, it's one of the most important issues in my life. How dare you say it is a non-issue. How dare you spit on your fellow Americans like that.

      May 9, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    @ veteran:
    Yep. Thanks–I'll stop about wedding bells now.
    Anyway, the bell done rung for me–long, long ago.
    My work starts right after this coffee and croissant, then stops about 7:00 PM. Tomorrow is worse.
    You're right that the lever is still in the upright position.
    Is Reagan running again?

    May 9, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. veteran

    Actually jiffer for me I have about as much excitement for romney as I did for reagon the first time.Believe it or not I voted for carter in 80.Who knows if given the chance romney may be a reincarmation of ronny.Sure have missed our communications!

    May 9, 2012 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

      @ veteran:
      Now I know who you are. I started to ask yesterday what happened to you.
      I did not vote for Carter.

      May 9, 2012 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. veteran

    And I Know its not the country, but romney sure did fix the olympics.He certainly cant do any worse than obama!

    May 9, 2012 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @ veteran,just ask the people of his last political debacle,Mass,they're not too happy how he left them after one term and 47th in employement creation rating during that time while raising taxes,not my cup of coffee my friend.Ask that political hack also what his stance is on gay rights,your republican leper flip flopper has apparently lost his spine on this subject being a Mormon leader as well as a long running political loser,trying to buy his seat at 1600 Pennsylania Ave with nothing more than dirty money from his Super Pac masters.Read up on who his contributors are,over 90% of the 1%ers gave Romney monies for his so called cause,typical republican hypocricy,ya,help who if elected,not you the 99%ers if his handlers have anything to do with it!!

      May 9, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. veteran

    It was a personal thing.Just as soon not discuss it.Other than to say I got embarrassed tremendosly and did some things to hurt the person that matters the most to me.But I figured by me calling you jiffer and if you seen the post to banasy where I said she was the queen of the boards you would know.Been reading the boards just not posting.

    May 9, 2012 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. chrissy

    We all know who you are and glad your ok veteran, wondered about you just the other day as a matter of fact.

    May 9, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. bigred

    Wondering if ronnie is running again is a scary thought. 1980 is when all our problems started, although we did get a break for 8 years under clinton. I did not leave the republican party they left me.

    May 9, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  13. jerry

    lets have a little bible study here and this will put this to rest once and for all IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED ADAM AND EVE from the beginning of time it was always GOD's plan for a man and a woman to be together,not a man and a man, not a woman and a woman, GEN#2:5 GOD created adam and eve and called THEIR name adam, GOD didnt take a rib out of adam and another adam PLAIN AND SIMPLE

    May 9, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

      Thank yu for informing us about the reason _you_ are not interested in marrying someone of your same gender...can you please explain why your choice of belief should dictate the beliefs and lives and choices of others?

      May 9, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    Lets NOT have a bible study thing and call it good. Marriage should be between 2 consenting ADULTS! And the government needs to take care of government issues, economy, public safety, things of that nature. If we wanted bedroom police we would vote for em

    May 9, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. chrissy

    And good morning Pete!

    May 9, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @chrissy,good mornin to ya,how's it goin so far.Hey, check out the site explaining the Zimmerman,Trayvon Martin deal,really gets my goat what jerks are sayin,really sad,just pathedic....This world really is goin in the dumps,just sayin!!!

      May 9, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Hello, everybody! I just want to say I'm from Chapel Hill in the triangle and am so embarrassed about the civil union vote. The triangle is very progressive and down with LGBT, but the rest of NC definitely is not. Lots of bible thumpers abd other assorted hillbillies. Don't worry! They want food stamps, so they'll vote OB by November!

      May 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
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