In Leimert Park, mixed feelings at Obama’s public position on gay marriage

Darlene Collins says she will vote for Obama although she disagrees with his support for same-sex marriages.
Darlene Collins says she will vote for Obama although she disagrees with his support for same-sex marriages.
Corey Moore/KPCC

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President Obama’s announcement on Wednesday that he approves of same-sex marriage revived memories of 2008, when many of those who elected him president also voted against same-sex marriage in California.

A random, unscientific survey of likely voters near Leimert Park in South Los Angeles shows that that split could come back to haunt him four years later.

A business consultant who didn’t want to give his name echoed the sentiment of many in South L.A. when he says he "was actually in a state of shock" at the news.

"I really don’t know what this is going to do with his chance for presidency again," he said, adding that he won't vote for Obama in November.

Darlene Collins says she will, although as a Christian she disagrees with Obama's support for same-sex marriages.

“It’s not what I think, it's what the Bible says about it," she maintains. "God’s word is against gay marriages. And God created in the beginning, male and female, and that’s what he intends for it to be.”

Terrell Johnson, a 26-year-old grocery clerk, says he’s an Obama supporter.

“I do feel like he’s been doing what he’s supposed to do," says Johnson. "But as far as gay marriage, no, I don’t agree with that.”

Another 26-year-old, Felipe Solares, fully supports Obama’s position. But he adds that many Latinos like him probably don't share his views.

“Black and Hispanic voters are both very traditional," acknowledged Solares. "And so they’ll stick to their religious points. But at the same time, they want to see the cultural change, so they’re sort of fighting that tug of war between themselves.”

One woman who identified herself only as Sally said she works on Obama’s re-election campaign, even as this latest announcement perplexes her.

“I need to figure out what’s going on with that," she said. "As a Christian, I’m totally different against gay marriages. That I can say, okay?”

Maria Grandberry – another Obama campaign worker – took a different position.

“A great majority of the voters are gay," she pointed out. "Men and women. And I find myself lately surrounded by a lot of them, even in church. And they’re very nice people. But I think that’s a wonderful thing, really.”

Grandberry, who says she’s a Christian, supports their right to marry and doesn’t believe this issue will blemish Obama’s re-election campaign at all.