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. Scottish Mama

    @chrissy- Noone deserves to be insulted. I was taught, "If you insult or call someone stupid you have lost the argument, because you obviously cannot articulate or bring fact into the discussion."

    May 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      I agree, Scotttish Mama.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |


    May 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |

      Taking it ""back" is what we are afraid of you so called "decent" ppl howie. We aren't going back. Only Forward, Forward, Forward!!

      May 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chrissy

    @ mama, WORD, that was exactly what i said to him. Starting a conversation with someone by insulting them is disrespectful and takes away any validity you may have had in your point.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kevin

    Gay 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 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hamsta

    @ scottish mama Deregulation didnt cause the banks to fail-liberal democrats(barney frank) forcing them to make bad loans and bernie madoff(also a liberal democrat)with the largest ponzi scheme in world history caused them to fail.choking the insurance industry with overburdening and contradictory regulation will cause them to fail. @chrissy so who have i insulted today? or is the truth insulting to you?

    May 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @Hamsta,Barney ,Frank was made a law in 2010 under Pres.Obama.The housing market collapse was in 2008 under your buddy Bush,so please get your facts straight,if Barney,Frank had this bill on the books sooner there would've not have been a house market collapse as you rightwingers have mis spoke of many times.Read:politicians.com/stories/0212/72767,its a real informative piece and shows how Democrates stepped in to stem the tide of fraudulent mortgages with this Barney-Frank mortgage bill...I hope again to show you credible facts,not just crap you all throw around,good reading,now,who's insulted?Also quite a few Democrates and Republicans lost monies with Berny Madoffs scam,read again,I'll be nice because of your inherent problem,being a republican,that's a hell of a cross to bare for anyone...

      May 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      You are wrong and your facts are wrong. Barney Frank actually put some of the deregulated material back into play and that was not enough. You are wrong. Too bad you do not know the truth. Bush Deregulated it further than the Gingrich regime in the 90's. So it was the republicans that did it. The man who helped them deregulate and helped deregulate came clean. And Gramm Biley and Leach all republicans wrote it. Get your facts straight. You are not looking up anything.

      May 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hamsta

    so far this week i have been called neo nazi right wing extremist tea bagger terrorist among other things. whos making insults? who is the terrorist? who is the neo nazis? the tea party didnt blow up bridges, smash stores, and commit armed robbery- the occupy people did. the right wing conservatives didnt take over greece and start jew bashing while talking about aryan supremacy-the liberal left wing socialist neo nazis did that. I MERELY POINTED THOSE FACTS OUT. again whos making insults? or is that your guilty conscience speaking?

    May 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hamsta

    sounds like some gullible people will still believe anything the obama administration spins. keep drinking the kool aid.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hamsta

    @ terry she wasnt doing anything illegal. ever seen the movie ghostbusters? when the epa starts throwing their weight around? similar story. its kind of hard to run a business when the government tells you on page 562 that kids must spend no less than 1 hour every day outside doing physical activity then tells you on page 3468 that kids are not to get more than 30 minutes exposure to the sun.

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

    @ pete bush might have been president but check again that was barney franks doings.and just to let you know i am an independent but get labeled as a republican.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    @ hamsta, You insulted scottish mama, or have you conveniently forgotten that? You insulted me last night, then shrugged it off with *whatever.* How can you feel justified in this? And why would i have a guilty conscious? Because i called you out on it???

    May 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hamsta

    no chrissy i didnt insult you yesterday. i clarrified an insult i made months ago which i did apologize for by the way.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hamsta

    now tell me how i have insulted anyone this week other than turning their insults back at them.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Beverado

    This conversation is just flatout silly. When people are guilty of something, they accuse others of having guilty consciences. This, in other words, is a ploy to throw off that they, in fact, feel bad about something themselves. How very stupid, and misleading. I won't even mention the fact that they never state what the other person is feeling guilty about. Whoops. Looks like I just did.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    @ hamsta, IF you apologised to me i missed it. When was this apology made anyway?

    May 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kate

    I was in SLC this weekend. On the cover of the Salt Lake City Magazine it reads, "The Myth of Mitt". A cover story on how he did NOT save the Olympics. Read it and Learn the truth! He used millions and millions of tax payers money to try to make himself look like a hero! Another Big lie! This written by His People!

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