Pastor not surprised by President's opinion on gay marriage - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Pastor not surprised by President's opinion on gay marriage

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Pastor Johnny Ray Noble Pastor Johnny Ray Noble
Tim Pulliam talks to Pastor Johnny Ray Noble Tim Pulliam talks to Pastor Johnny Ray Noble
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Johnny Ray Noble is pastor at Second Nazareth Baptist Church in Columbia.

He said he wasn't surprised by President Barack Obama's stance on gay marriage.

"I was somewhat disappointed," said Noble.

In an interview this week, the President said he supported same-sex unions.

"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," said President Obama.

"I thought I'd never hear those words from him being a Christian," said Noble, "Him being happily married to Michelle and two small children. I wondered what the impact would be for him and his family.

Noble worries the President's stance could impact the future of marriage at the altar.  The 37- year-old pastor believes that God ordained marriage only for a man and woman.

He said it's a religious matter, not a civil rights issue.  Noble believes the President's opinion is calculated.

"I kind of feel that this was serving some self-interests as we lead into this election," he said, "Possibly an attempt to win over gay rights supporters."

Noble's 500-member church is mostly black and he says they typically vote as democrats.

In 2008, the President received 95% of the black vote, according to Pew Research.

Despite the conflicting views on marriage, Noble believes his congregation will vote based on issues like the economy and healthcare.

"I don't think it's going to change our votes across the board in the African-American community," said Noble. "I don't think you'll see people jumping on the Republican bandwagon just because the President feels one way.  It's his opinion. We're entitled to it and that's what makes us America."

It appears some African-Americans are changing their minds on the issue of gay marriage. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2008, 63% of African-Americans opposed legalizing same-sex unions.  But in a 2012 study,  49% of African Americans say they oppose the unions.

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