JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–In what some view as intimidation, a liberal church in Florida that supports “gay marriage” has launched a website listing the names and addresses of every person who has signed a petition supporting that state’s proposed constitutional marriage amendment.
The effort by Christ Church of Peace out of Jacksonville is similar to an effort in Massachusetts, where homosexual activists also started a website listing the names of people backing that state’s amendment. The Massachusetts petition drive reached its goal.
Thus far, more than 460,000 Floridians have signed the petition, and the website — www.knowthyneighbor.org — supposedly lists the names of all of them, the Knight Ridder news service reported. The information is public, the news service said.
Pro-family groups must collect 611,000 signatures if they are to place the amendment — which would protect the traditional definition of marriage by banning “gay marriage” — on the 2008 ballot. Petitions are available online at www.Florida4Marriage.org.
“For too long LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people have been asked to be silent as they are relegated to the status of second class citizens,” a statement on the website says. “We have been intimidated and told we are not equal and don’t deserve to have our rights respected.”
The purpose of the website, according to the statement, is “to provide meaningful access to public information in order to promote open and meaningful conversations.”
But conservatives disagree.
“It’s a gross invasion of people’s privacy,” John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, told Knight Ridder. He added that if pro-family groups published the names and addresses of homosexual activists, they would be criticized severely.
“A lot of people would be outraged and say it’s a hateful, un-Christian gesture,” he said.
Florida isn’t alone in its effort to ban “gay marriage.” Twenty other states have adopted marriage amendments, passing them with an average of 71 percent of the vote. Six additional states are scheduled to vote on them this year. The amendments prevent state courts from legalizing “gay marriage.” Massachusetts has no such amendment, and its highest court issued a ruling in 2003 forcing the state to grant homosexuals marriage licenses.
PA. SENATE PASSES AMENDMENT — Pennsylvania’s Senate passed a constitutional marriage amendment June 21 by a vote of 38-12, although the amendment does not include language banning Vermont-style same-sex civil unions, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The House earlier had passed a more strongly worded amendment banning such unions. Both bills, though, do ban “gay marriage.”
The Senate version now goes back to the House.
“What passed the House overwhelmingly ended up not passing the Senate,” Steve Miskin, spokesman for House Majority Leader Sam Smith, a Republican, told The Inquirer. “The version that passed the Senate failed in the House. We’re going to see if the differences can be reconciled.”
The amendment must be approved by two consecutive sessions and would not appear on the ballot until 2007, at the earliest.
CHRISTIANS OUTNUMBER HOMOSEXUALS IN RALLIES — Homosexuals in Sao Paulo, Brazil, went to the streets en masse June 18 in a parade that drew 2.4 million people — but a rally the day before by Christians drew even more people, an estimated 3 million, the Associated Press reported.
The 10th annual Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade, according to AP, included “go-go boys and drag queens dancing on the roofs of sound trucks.” Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil.
On June 17 a “March for Jesus” rally drew an estimated 3 million people in the same city. They sang, listened to bands and marched. The number of evangelicals in Brazil grew annually by 8 percent from 1991 to 2000, AP said, and Brazil is 74 percent Roman Catholic.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage