The continued disappointment among some Americans, including black pastors, over President Barack Obama’s support for same-sex marriage is not surprising.

What is surprising is that some pastors are telling their congregations to stay home on Election Day because of it.

Those who are seeking to punish him for his belief are ignoring the fact that our system of democracy does not permit Mr. Obama to issue an edict on the matter. It remains just his personal conviction.

While his gay marriage stand may be unacceptable to some, it is only one facet of this African-American man who continues to make history by simply being president. But his job is multi-dimensional.

He is  also commander-in-chief of the armed forces waging war in Afghanistan. His battle against terrorism led to the killing of Osama bin Laden and the destruction of much of the Al Qaeda terrorist network. He has restored America’s prestige in the world, where we are once more respected and admired.

He inherited an economy that was collapsing into a new Great Depression and, while recovery has been slow, the turnaround has been an almost singlehanded effort, with the Republicans in Congress using the crisis to further their aim of making him a one-term president.

Then, of course, there is the Patient Care and Affordable Care Act, the landmark so-called Obamacare healthcare measure which hasn’t yet fully kicked in but is already bringing substantial benefits to those who need health care the most. And there is the nation’s social safety net — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps and welfare — which Mr. Obama has firmly pledged to protect and which the Republican candidate promises to dismantle.

It is important for the pastors who are telling their flocks to stay home instead of voting to bear in mind also that there is no such thing as not voting. Every person who stays home is one less vote a candidate has to worry about. In these times when a few hundred ballots can decide who will occupy the White House, that should not be an option.

If there is any doubt, take a look at the news about what Mr. Romney said regarding 47 percent of Americans, who, he said in a just revealed video, don't pay taxes and believe they are entitled to support by the government.

“My job is not to worry about those people,” Mr. Romney says in the video. The pastors who are telling their flocks to stay home instead of voting should not find it too hard to understand who are included in “those people.”