Missouri First Of Many States To Vote On Gay Marriage Ban
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The presidential race is not the only high-stakes political battle being waged in Missouri this year.
The state votes Tuesday on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, marking the first such vote in the nation since Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage last year. National groups on both sides of the debate expect the vote to be a litmus test for which campaign strategies work -- and which don't -- as the battle spreads to ballot boxes around the United States.
At least nine other states, and perhaps as many as 12, will vote on similar amendments this year. Four states already have similar amendments.
"What happens here in Missouri could have a tremendous impact on the rest of the nation's other elections," said Vicky Hartzler, spokeswoman for the group backing the amendment, the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri. "I'm hopeful we will be able to send a very strong, clear message from Missouri that here in the heartland, we value traditional marriage."
Choir Chief Fired for Backing Gay Marriage
By Associated Press
SEBRING, Fla. -- A church choir director who wrote a newspaper opinion piece supportive of gay marriage was fired after church officials took issue with the article.
Dennis Ray, who is gay, said his firing by the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) came as a surprise. He lost his job after a July 22 guest column appeared in Highlands Today in which he claimed half of the church's members believe in acceptance of gay people.
"I couldn't stop myself from writing that article," said Ray, 43. "I listen to Christian radio. The songs are beautiful, but in between the music they had all these fundamentalists preachers spewing nothing but hate and bigotry on issues having anything to do with homosexuality, from branding us as child molesters to being mentally ill and everything in between."
Officials at the southern Florida church, which considers homosexuality a sin, said Ray has the right to express his opinion, but went too far when he claimed that half the congregation agreed with him.