In one breath, President Obama endorsed gay marriage last week. In the next, he turned directly to a contingent of supporters likely to be offended by that endorsement: Obama called up a number of ministers to explain his views and get feedback, the New York Times reports. On a conference call with African-American religious leaders, several noted that they were troubled by the news and were unsure they could back him in November. "Gay marriage is contrary to their understanding of Scripture,” says one of the ministers. “There are people who are really wrestling with this."
By the end of the call, while most of the ministers said they'd still "work aggressively" on Obama's behalf, some held out. They weren't the only ones. "Some of the faith communities are going to be afraid that this is an attack against religious liberty," the head of a conservative megachurch told the president, who replied that it "absolutely" was not. Backers noted that African Americans and others in the Democrats' base may be reluctant to accept the idea. But, “It was very clear to me that he had arrived at this conclusion after much reflection, introspection, and dialogue with family and staff and close friends,” says one pastor who thinks most will eventually back Obama. “There are more public policy issues that we agree upon than this issue of private morality in which there’s some difference.” (Read more President Obama stories.)