Updated 05/21/2012 09:13 PM
Christian voters debate same-sex marriage
It's been nearly two weeks since President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage and people are still talking about the implications, especially among Christian voters, a community polarized by the issue. With nearly 80 percent of Americans identifying as Christians, our Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups takes a look at the differences in philosophical beliefs that may dictate how they may vote this November.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- This weekend at its annual board meeting, the NAACP voted overwhelmingly to support same-sex marriage.
Maryland Reverend Delman Coates agrees with the NAACP. He was also one of several religious leaders who took part in a conference call with the President shortly after he announced his support for gay marriage. Coates says Obama emphasized there would be differences of opinion.
"While there may be some differences, they didn't have to be the pretext to divide," Coates said.
But divisions abound in the Christian community and it may very well come down to what Christians believe the role of government should be. Coates points to the constitution, saying a civil right is just that, a right that should be determined on the civic stage.
"It is the province of the faith communities to deal with issues of private morality and it is the role and responsibility of the Government to address issues of public morality," Coates said.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that represents about 40 different Christian denominations, believes it is the church's duty to protect marriage as between one man and one woman.
NAE Vice President Galen Carey says they are disappointed with the President.
"We want the president to be our moral leader. To speak to the nation about our values," said Carey.
Despite recent polls showing little impact on President Obama's support, Carey believes Obama's endorsement of gay marriage will certainly affect how Christians vote this November.
Carey said, "Within the evangelical community, I believe there's a strong consensus."
Since Reverend Coates came out in support of same-sex marriage, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church has seen an increase each Sunday in attendance. Coates says he believes Obama will also see more good than bad come out of his support for same-sex marriage.
"People are very offended by the notion that this one issue is going to be the death nail in the coffin," Coates said.