U,S. Baptists Call for Ban on Gay Marriages
By Judith Cebula
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Reuters) - Southern Baptists called for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Wednesday, a day after President Bush promised the largest U.S. Protestant denomination he would press his fight for one.
The endorsement of Bush's stance was a notable gain for the president on an issue which has not attracted widespread support, and it came from a conservative group whose 16 million members are likely to be major supporters of his re-election bid.
Church leaders overwhelmingly backed a resolution calling for the U.S. Constitution to be amended to define marriage as "exclusively the union between one man and one woman."
The church has a long history of opposing homosexuality.
The vote came a day after Bush addressed the gathering via satellite from the White House. He described the union of a man and a woman the most enduring of human institutions and reiterated his commitment to work for a constitutional amendment that would prevent state and federal courts from legalizing same-sex marriages.
Move To Let Churches Engage In Partisan Politics Nixed
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(Washington) Legislation that would have allowed partisan political advocacy by churches and other houses of worship was axed in a House committee Wednesday.
The measure was contained in American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. If the provisions remained in the bill, houses of worship would have been allowed to participate in elections without losing their tax-exempt status - something that other tax exempt groups would continue not to be able to do.
Churches would have been allowed to use anti-gay issues to support candidates in ads and other means while, LGBT civil rights groups would be barred from doing anything to rebut the charges.
"Houses of worship have never been prohibited from and remain permitted to discuss and provide guidance on important issues of the day," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "But the provisions, which were stripped out, would have allowed religious tax-exempt groups privilege over others. Regardless of their ideology, tax-exempt groups should be treated fairly and equally under the law."
John Kerry garners HRC endorsement
Citing his support for GLBT equality, the national gay rights group Human Rights Campaign on Wednesday endorsed Democratic U.S. senator John Kerry of Massachusetts for president.
"From voting against the Defense of Marriage Act to actively opposing 'don't ask, don't tell,' John Kerry is a true leader for our community," said HRC president Cheryl Jacques. "Just six months into his first Senate term in 1985, he introduced a gay civil rights bill. His aggressive support for our community continued unabated for the years that followed, demonstrated time and again by perfect HRC ratings on GLBT issues in Congress."
Although Kerry does not support same-sex marriage, HRC said he was one of only 14 senators to cast a vote against the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by then-president Bill Clinton. Kerry is a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and voted for the bill in 1996.
"I want to thank HRC for its endorsement," said Kerry. "We have worked together on so many battles, and we still have many challenges ahead of us. I know that America finds its strength in the diversity of this great country. I have worked for more than 20 years to make sure that LGBT Americans are treated with dignity in our society and equality in our laws. That fight is not over, and I will be there for the fights in the future."
Gay Marriage Opponents Gear Up for Fall
By KAREN TESTA
Associate Press Writer
BOSTON (AP) - For a month now, hundreds of gay couples have gotten married in Massachusetts with remarkably little fanfare or protest. But the honeymoon is about to end. Gay-marriage opponents are targeting the Legislature this fall, when all 200 seats are up for election. They want to see passage of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
``The people who are in favor of marriage, the traditional definition of it, we still haven't given up,'' said Michael Carl, president of a political action committee to support candidates who oppose gay marriage and civil unions.
On the other side of the issue, gay-marriage supporters plan to mount a legal challenge any day now to the 1913 law that Gov. Mitt Romney has used to block out-of-state couples from exchanging vows in Massachusetts.
Overturning the law could lead large numbers of gays and lesbians to come to Massachusetts to get married. Those couples could then demand legal recognition in their home states, setting off challenges to marriage laws across the country.