Residents react to President's announcement

By Paul Drewes
Published On: May 09 2012 11:14:00 PM HST

The President's bold announcement has some cheering, but has others wondering what will happen come election time.

HONOLULU -

The president is taking a stand on gay marriage.   It is a bold move that has some cheering but has others wondering what will happen in this fall's election.

There were smiles all around at a Wednesday night meeting for parents, family and friends of lesbians and gays.

"Today we say thank you Mr. President. You are an honorable man," said Carolyn Martinez-Golojuch with PFLAG-Oahu.

Earlier in the day, President Obama stated his support for same sex marriage and his reason behind it.

"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 Obama.

At their monthly PFLAG-Oahu meeting, members not only talked about the president's announcement, but also the changes same-sex couples have seen over the years. Now servicemen and women can be openly gay and couples can already get married in certain places. Vern Lentz and his partner Mike Breen have been together for 25 years and never thought they would see this day.

"I never dreamed any of this would happen in my lifetime. The most I was expecting was tolerance. So this is very exciting," said Lentz.

Following the president's announcement, a number of Hawaii lawmakers also expressed their support.
Senator Dan Inouye stated, "I look forward to working with the President to ensure his position on marriage equality becomes law in this country."

Senator Daniel Akaka said, "I am proud of President Obama for taking this courageous stand."
Same-sex marriage has been a hotly contested issue in years past. But now a majority of people support it, including a key block of voters that political analyst Neal Milner said could be swayed by Obama's announcement.

"Right now, voters who are undecided tend to approve of same sex marriage more than they disapprove," said Milner.

Milner added Obama's position should get the support of a strong liberal base, including influential gay people and fundraisers. But his stance could energize some who are opposed to same-sex marriages to become more involved for conservative candidates.

The Hawaii Family Forum, which supports marriage between one man and one woman, said voters will get a chance to weigh in on the President's announcement in the November election.

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