Florida Church names names of Gay Marriage Critics

06/16/06

A Florida church has began a campaign this week identifying supporters of a proposed Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage by publishing the names and addresses of 400,000 Florida residents in 60 counties.

The Jacksonville based Christ Church of Peace started the “Know They Neighbor� initiative this week. They say the purpose is to stimulate dialogue between those who signed such a petition, and those who oppose such a law.

Tom Lang is the Co-Director of Knowthyneighbor.com in Massachusetts. He said his group began the website last September as a means to stop an effort to have a Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriage implemented in that state.(roll tape#1 o.q.�for a lot of people�)

But the website is offending those who support same sex marriage in Florida. (roll tape#2 o.q.�market place of ideas�)

John Stemberger is the President and General Counsel for the Florida Policy Council, and one of the organizers behind the effort to get a Constitutional Amendment to ban same sex marriage in Florida (roll tape#3 o.q.�more conservative Florida�)

If one logs on to KnowThyNeighbor.org, and clicks onto the Florida site, there are scrolls and scrolls of names - 400,000 in all – of Florida Citizens and their addresses listed.

WMNF attempted to reach several bay area names on the list, but those people did not answer.

Last week, the US Senate voted down a proposal to initiate the process for a Federal Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriage.

But in 2004, 11 states voted for such a measure – and organizers in Florida were hoping to have such an amendment up for a vote this November – but they did not get a sufficient number of signatures on time to qualify for this November’s ballot. They aim to get it on the 2008 ballot.

Gary Debusk is the Pastor at Christ Church of Peace in Jacksonville. He says he understands the concerns of those who claim the listing of names of those who signed the petitions to banning gay marriage, but believes he has done nothing wrong (roll tape#4 o.q.�any groups rights�)

And Debusk says in fact that the idea of fostering dialogue by listing the names of those signing such petitions has resulted in several conversations in changing minds (roll tape#5 o.q.�been some confusion�)

And Debusk said others found their names listed on the site, even though they claim they never signed such petitions.

And Tom Lang of the Massachusetts Know They Neighbor campaign, said that when they published the list of signatures, it began an investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (roll tape#6 o.q.�in the petition, yes�)

When asked if he believes that the founders of KnowThy Neighbor are sincere in saying their motive is to initiate dialogue between same sex marriage foes and supporters, John Stemberger from the Florida Family Policy Council says he can’t judge their motive, but can judge other gay rights activists (roll tape#7 o.q.�gross invasion of privacy�)

To view the website, go to Knowthyneighbor.org…The campaign in Florida for a Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriage is Florida4marriage.org

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