Houston mayor, others weigh impact of Obama's gay-marriage endorsement


by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News


Posted on May 10, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Updated Thursday, May 10 at 6:01 PM

Do you support gay marriage?

HOUSTON - President Obama’s words supporting gay marriage have everyone talking, including Houston’s mayor and members of the president's voting base.

Inside Connections Studio and Barbershop in the Third Ward, people said it is an issue that used to be cut and dry in black churches.

“It might cause controversy between people that aren’t of the same-sex marriage,” said Justin Cotton, a barber.

However, now that President Obama, a man supported by so many in the black community, is taking a position contrary to some Christian beliefs, there is talk of support wavering.  But, some insist it’s just talk.

“It doesn’t change my opinion,” said Paul Joseph, an Obama supporter.  “He’s still a good president.  He’s still trying to do what he set out to do and I think we should give him another chance.”

“God wouldn’t be pleased if you were to gay bash or treat [homosexuals] different than the person that is in a [heterosexual] marriage,” Cotton said.

For Mayor Parker, this issue is personal.

“I’ve been in a committed relationship for more than 21 years,” Parker said.  “I expect someday to formally honor that relationship, and I’m glad the president agrees.”

Tony Villatoro is not exactly glad.  He believes evangelical Christians who rely on scripture for direction could reconsider voting for Obama.

“Even though he has some good intentions to better, to bring hope, to bring change, this complicates things for [evangelicals] if they are Christian believers or if they do not support gay marriage,” Villatoro said.

Villatoro leads Glorious Grace Church, a small, mostly Hispanic congregation in Spring Branch.  Villatoro admits he supported Obama on things like foreign policy.  However, the same-sex marriage issue makes him think twice.

“Do I really want a person who is going to support something that Jesus did not support or do I want to support something that the Bible doesn’t support,” Villatoro asked.  “The Bible is our superior authority on this issue.”

Both Hispanic and black voters represent key portions of Obama’s support base.  How they react in November’s election is what matters.  Villatoro and others are still combing through facts, not yet ready to make a decision.