East Texans Debate Same-Sex Marriage - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

02/24/04

East Texans Debate Same-Sex Marriage

  The president says judges and activists in three states have sought to overturn two centuries of US law that states marriage is between a man and a woman. The president believes these attempts to redefine marriage in a single state, or city, could have serious consequences throughout the country. That is why he feels a constitutional amendment is necessary. East Texans are divided on the issue, and it's already sparked some heated debates.

"I believe because I am a Christian that the sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman," said one Tyler woman.

"I'm not gay, I just think they should be allowed to do what they want just like the rest of us," said another Tyler woman.

At this Tyler gas station, East Texans shared varying opinions on the issue of gay marriage. Some feel the constitutional amendment is necessary.

"A man is a man and a woman is a woman. We were put here to produce and two of the same kind can not produce. I think it is against human nature," said another.

Others think a constitutional amendment is taking away the rights of Americans, throwing us back to the days of segregation.

"I don't think we should judge people because they are a little different from us. You could make an amendment that says only white people can get married or only people of the same religion can get married, that's not right."

Wesley Beard, the spokesperson for the East Texas Gay and Lesbian Alliance agrees.

"What Bush and other lawmakers are trying to do is say these people are less than human. I don't want to be denied any of the rights that's given to me under the constitution. I want the same rights. I am a law abiding, tax paying citizen," says Beard.

"I just don't think they have the right to force these things upon our society and culture," says Pastor Joseph Canal.

Pastor Joseph Canal of Tyler Christian Fellowship says a constitutional amendment is warranted.. Especially now since some cities and states are forcing the nation as a whole to follow there lead.

"I think the majority of people world wide would not support this and I think the majority of Americans are in favor of marriage between a man and a woman," Pastor Canal says.

"Marriage was instituted by God and man really doesn't have the authority to redefine what marriage is," Pastor Canal says.

Right now 38 states in the US have banned gay and lesbian marriages.

Eight years ago, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the defense of marriage act. It defined marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. But passing a constitutional amendment is much more difficult. It will need support from 2/3 of both houses in congress and ratification by three-quarters of the states.

Michelle Mortensen, reporting.

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