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MISSOURI: Gay marriage ban approved by voters, nixed by Episcopal bishop

MISSOURI: Gay marriage ban approved by voters, nixed by Episcopal bishop

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

Voters in Missouri have given a resounding thumbs up to an amendment (2) to the state constitution banning gay marriage. By doing so they served notice that similar proposed bans in other states could be difficult to defeat.

The Missouri Constitution will now state that "to be valid and recognized in this state a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman." The vote was over 70% in favor. The Christian voters turned out in record numbers, said a Virtuosity subscriber.

Vicky Hartzler, a spokeswoman for the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri. "This is a message of the heart, and here in the Heartland, we value marriage. I'm very gratified and encouraged and thankful that the people of this state understand our current policy's a wise public policy and they want to see it protected from a legal challenge," she said.

The wide margin is especially noteworthy given that the Democrats outnumbered the Republicans at the polls Tuesday, as a result of the hotly contested Democratic gubernatorial primary, opined the Post-Dispatch.

In an ironic twist, pro-gay rights forces spent nearly $400,000 in donations, most of it gathered through house parties in St. Louis and Kansas City while supporters of the gay marriage ban raised little less than $10,000 -- relying instead on dozens of church congregations to carry the message via newsletters and announcements from the pulpit.

But the Episcopal Bishop of Missouri, George Wayne Smith urged voters to vote against Amendment 2 in an Op-Ed article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, saying it would continue to marginalize gays and lesbians and make them unwelcome in their neighborhoods. "I ask you with equal fervor to eschew hatred."

He wrote: "The body politic receives no good fortune in the opportunity to cast a vote on this divisive issue. Human sexuality has become a wedge issue in American society, used deftly at times by those on both sides of the issue. Forcing a "yes" or "no" vote divides even further an already polarized electorate. I write as someone whose Church has faced divisions in the aftermath of a vote on human sexuality one year ago. I am not eager to vote one more time on this matter, but I am even less eager to give into the power of a wedge issue.

"Second, there is the witness from gay and lesbian persons in our communities, and from gay and lesbian believers in my own Church. The prospect of Amendment 2 leaves them with an ill foreboding. It gives them a message of unwelcome in their own neighborhoods. It makes them feel marginally less safe; some even feel considerably less safe."

Smith said they hear that the Amendment is supposed somehow to protect marriage; they know, however, that it is really about them.

Bishop Smith has it all wrong. The notion that gay safety or "hatred" is an issue, is a complete fiction.

There are gays in most every neighborhood in America and they live at peace with their neighbors.

It is as much a fiction as orthodox rabbis who screamed that Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ" would result in violent anti-Semitic outbreaks in America and Jews being killed. It never happened.

It is as much a fiction that Episcopal sodomites constantly scream "they are trying to kill us," whenever some orthodox rector timidly stands up and says gay behavior is wrong and gets yelled at for being homophobic. It's a fiction. It has never happened. No one has ever tried to kill Louie Crew, or Otis Charles, or Gene Robinson or Kim Byham or Michael Hopkins.

It is the same fiction that led V. Gene Robinson and Frank Griswold to wear flak jackets at Robinson's consecration - the fear being that some right wing "fundamentalist" Episcopal rector was waiting in the bleachers with a high-powered rifle to kill them. It never happened. It was a fiction. In fact in three known cases, orthodox priests including a Nigerian priest was attacked by pro-sodomite gangs following the consecration.

No. All the citizens of the State of Missouri wanted to do was say something that is as old as Western Civilization itself, and that is that marriage shall be confined to a man and a woman, no exceptions.

The feel-your-pain nonsense of Bishop Smith, based on absolutely no scientific or empirical evidence is precisely why the Episcopal Church is in trouble.

And it is why the bishop has one parish in his diocese, The Church of the Good Shepherd with its feisty Evangelical rector the Rev. Paul Walter, willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States to test the Dennis Canon, to keep his people and property from his revisionist clutches. He and his parish eschew the Robinson consecration and same-sex blessings.

Now that the people of the state have spoken, let's hope the local courts have the good sense, to heed the priest's pleas, "to go in peace to love and serve the Lord."


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