Not everyone is happy with President Barack Obama's announcement yesterday that he personally supports the idea of gay marriage, least of all the evangelical Florida pastor who is an important adviser to the president. Rev. Joel Hunter, leader of an Orlando-area megachurch, says he is "disappointed" by Obama's decision.
As a member of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Hunter holds some sway in the White House. He also delivered the closing benediction at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and prayed with Obama during key points in his campaign and presidency.
According to the Associated Press, Hunter says Obama called him yesterday shortly before he made the announcement:
Hunter says he told the president he disagreed with his interpretation of what the Bible says about marriage. Hunter says the president reassured him he would protect the religious freedom of churches who oppose gay marriage.
Hunter says the announcement makes it harder for him to support Obama, but he will continue to do so.
That some key Obama supporters weren't thrilled with yesterday's announcement in support of gay marriage shouldn't be much more of a surprise than the notion that some gay-marriage supporters have accused the president of politically calculated pandering and not going far enough with his stance.
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Though, a sitting president announcing he personally supports gay marriage is quite momentous. And while gay-marriage supporters certainly won't be happy with Hunter's reaction, perhaps they can take solace in the fact that Hunter says he will continue to support the president. It's a small point to make, but it is important to note that support for gay marriage will not be a make-or-break position for all voters. Many voters might disagree with Obama's stance but still vote for him in November.
That shouldn't be much of a surprise, however. There are many other important issues at stake during this election, and it seems silly that any anti-gay-marriage person would vote specifically for a candidate just because he opposed gay marriage.