Local debate over Obama's stance on gay marriage

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on May 9, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 9 at 5:41 PM

SEATTLE -- President Barack Obama on Wednesday made his announcement supporting gay marriage - the day before he campaigns in Seattle. And right away, people on both sides of the issue began speaking out.

Charlene Strong is co-editor of “The Seattle Lesbian.” Her role as an activist for gay rights began when she lost her partner of 10 years.

Kate Fleming died in 2006, when her basement flooded during a freak rainstorm in Seattle’s Madison valley neighborhood. Strong said she was kept from visiting her in the hospital and from planning her funeral.

“That’s why I felt compelled to say ‘Enough is enough,’” said Strong. “We have to do something to protect gay families.”

Strong is now remarried and wears a bracelet to ensure her partner’s rights. Her work gave way to a meeting with President Obama, and today she says she’s a proud supporter.

“He did what was right. He took a very strong risk, but it was the right move,” said Strong.

“I think he’s making a political play,” said Reverend Joe Fuiten of Cedar Park Church in Bothell.

Fuiten has been leading the charge to gather signatures for a referendum to legally keep marriage between a man and a woman in Washington state.

Fuiten believes the president is trying to garner donations from the gay community and predicts the president will lose votes.

“There are conservative Democrats who don’t believe [in gay marriage], and actually in the black community. This is going to hurt him,” said Fuiten. “They’re quite conservative in the black community and they don’t stand for this.”

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