Even if Obama had not supported same-sex marriage, Aaron said he still would have voted for him because the president has signaled his support in other ways and Romney strongly opposes gay marriage.
Aaron laments that "many within the black community find it nearly impossible to see gay rights through any lens other than biblical." But he finds hope in the statistics showing black people becoming more accepting and says that may be because they've gotten to know gays and lesbians, which breaks down stereotypes.
Many black pastors have been reluctant to address same-sex marriage from the pulpit; the topic remains taboo in much of their community. Now, "with the president taking such a clear stand on the issue, and his being such a beloved figure and historic symbol for African-Americans, I think it will advance the conversation," said the Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
"As a pastor, I will have to say something about this on Sunday," Warnock said.
The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a giant of the civil rights movement who delivered the benediction at Obama's inauguration, said he agrees with Obama on gay marriage.
"I believe in equal rights," Lowery said. "You can't believe in equal rights for some. That's an oxymoron."
However: "Do I like it? I'm uncomfortable with it," said Lowery, 90. "We grew up under boy-girl, man-woman, courtship and marriage."
Obama's statement may actually be following the changing black opinion rather than leading it, said William Jelani Cobb, a Rutgers University professor and author of "The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress."
"Presidencies tend to follow the culture, as opposed to being ahead of it," he said. "What this says is that the culture has gotten to a place where the executive branch feels like it can embrace this and not be so far ahead of the curve that they'll suffer really serious political damage for it."
Errin Haines: www.twitter.com/emarvelous.
AP National Writer Jesse Washington covers race and ethnicity: www.twitter.com/jessewashington.