Obama calls pastors to explain gay marriage support; black churches ‘conflicted' by president's decision

ByDylan Stableford
May 14, 2012, 11:17 AM

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After making his historic remarks on same-sex unions last week, President Barack Obama led a conference call with black church pastors to explain his support for gay marriage, the New York Times reports. The call, which was held with "eight or so African-American ministers," occurred about two hours after the president's interview with ABC's Robin Roberts.

Obama explained to them that he struggled with the decision, pastors on the call told the paper, but several voiced their disapproval.

"They were wrestling with their ability to get over his theological position," the Rev. Delman Coates, a Maryland pastor who was on the call, told the Times.

The conference call was part of a quiet effort by the president to control potential political damage caused by his support of same-sex marriage.

According to the Times, Obama phoned "at least one [the Rev. Joel C. Hunter] of the five spiritual leaders he calls regularly for religious guidance, and his aides contacted other religious figures who have been supportive in the past."

Hunter, the pastor of a conservative megachurch, said he wasn't surprised Obama didn't ask him advice before the ABC interview because "I would have tried to talk him out of it."

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