Jay-Z Praises President Obama's Support of Marriage Equality

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Even as he has accepted praise (and generous donations) from Hollywood on the heels of his public support of gay marriage, President Obama has spent the last week working to convince the larger American public that his self-styled evolution on the issue was the right move.  On Monday, he got a little help in that department from the country's most powerful rapper, Jay-Z.

"I've always thought it as something that was still, um, holding the country back," the star told CNN, referring to bans on same-sex marriage. "What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That's their business. [It] is no different than discriminating against blacks. It's discrimination plain and simple."

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One of the president's most skeptical constituencies, in fact, is the African American community, as many of its religious leaders are skeptical of gay marriage; ABC News reported on Monday that Obama reached out to many of the top pastors to explain himself on the issue, with many calling themselves "conflicted." For his part, Jay-Z shrugged off the potential loss of support -- not because he didn't believe it would happen, but because he said that backing gay marriage was more important than winning votes.

Obama and Jay-Z have developed a public friendship over the past four years; the rapper supported then-Senator Obama in his first run for the White House, and has been a prominent backer since, visiting the White House with wife Beyonce (who has become a close friend of First Lady Michelle Obama) and attending fundraisers on the president's behalf.

For his part, Obama admitted to preferring Jay-Z's rhymes over those of Kanye West.

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