Obama: Faith Informs 'Evolved' Gay Marriage View

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President Obama has drawn a major line in the sand, saying he now supports gay marriage.

In an exclusive interview with ABC's "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts on Wednesday, Obama made history saying, "I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

Just eight years ago, the president said in a U.S. Senate campaign speech that he believed as a Christian that marriage was between a man and a woman.

In 2010, he hinted that his position was "evolving."

But on Wednesday, he not only reversed his 2004 position, he used his faith to defend it. He explained that he and first lady Michelle Obama had talked together about the issue.

Click play to watch Heather Sells' updated report, followed by a CBN News roundtable discussion on how President Obama's stance on gay marriage impacts the future of gay rights and his re-election campaign.

"We are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others," he said. "But, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it's also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated."

The president's spiritual adviser, Florida evangelical pastor Joel Hunter, told the Associated Press that the president called him before the ABC interview.

Hunter said he told the president that he disagreed with the decision and told him he interprets Scripture differently.

Other faith leaders are also speaking out against the president. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Obama's remarks "undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society."

The Rev. Bryant Wright, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, predicts that voters will hold Obama accountable for what Wright calls "a calculated, politically expedient decision that completely ignores the biblical foundation of marriage."

Bishop Harry Jackson, founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, believes that the move will hurt the president's standing among black and Hispanic voters who tend to support traditional marriage more strongly than other voting blocs.

Analysts have begun to debate the political ramifications of Obama's move. GOP strategist Ralph Reed said he believes it will fuel evangelical turnout in the fall.

Indeed, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney was quick to address the issue on the campaign trail Wednesday, making the stark contrast between Obama's new stance and his own.

"My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman," Romney said.

A recent Pew Research Center poll shows that just 28 percent of registered voters say gay marriage will be very important to their vote in November.

But Pew also found that one in three swing voters in the South are strongly opposed to gay marriage. And many believe that in a tight race, a polarizing issue like gay marriage could erode the president's margins among key groups.

Right now 31 states, including North Carolina as of Tuesday, have approved traditional marriage amendments to their state constitutions.

So far, Obama said that despite his support for gay marriage, it's up to individual states to decide how to handle the issue.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells covers a variety of issues for CBN News ranging from immigration and religious liberty to human trafficking, privacy issues and food.

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