Kentuckiana reacts to President Obama's support of same sex marriage

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On Wednesday, in a carefully worded low-key statement that instantly upset the political calculations of this election year, President Obama declared that he's made up his mind about same sex marriage and he is in favor of it.

The President knows the move could both help and hurt his re-election effort.

President Obama had already backed civil unions for gays but, says he came to realize that wasn't enough for same sex couples that he and his family know.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said his position has not changed. "I'm in favor of traditional marriage between a man and a woman and I don't favor civil union or gay marriage."

For many people in Kentuckiana, the President's announcement about gay marriage isn't a big revelation but, it is stirring up some strong emotions.

"We're going to pray for our President," announced Pastor Jerry L. Stephenson of Midwest Church of Christ to his congregation, "For those of you that may not have heard, it's some very sad news today," he said.

The reaction inside the Louisville church may mirror other conservative African American churches around the country and may be a source of political trouble for President Obama.

Stephenson told his members, "The President of the United States of America has just made a declaration." The pastor believes the President's stance---in his mind---goes against the Bible.

"There will be some blacks that will vote for him no matter what because he's black," Stephenson said, "But, those who are committed to their Christian faith, won't vote for this President."

Andrew Walker, a policy analyst for The Family Foundation told us, "You know, I think this actually really hurts him." Walker said of Obama, "I know, I say that as a conservative on this issue but, North Carolina voted overwhelmingly by 20 percent to preserve the traditional definition of marriage."

But, for the President's supporters:

"I was beside myself with excitement," said Chris Hartman, the Director of the Fairness Campaign.  Hartman contends Obama's declaration only adds to his record of working hard for equal rights, like Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Obama supporters believe it will energize the President's younger voter base and ultimately make him an even stronger candidate. "It was unexpected, it came quickly, it was unequivocal," Hartman said of the announcement. "No sitting President has made a statement this bold for fairness and equality for Americans and so, I just couldn't be happier!"

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