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Tennessee church holds rally opposing marriage amendment

On Sunday I received a nice letter from a reader, Charles J. in Tennessee, who wanted to pass on word about a rally held at his church in opposition to the marriage amendment, which will be on the ballot next month.

Hi, Pam!

I go to the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, and I thought you would like to know that we had an event today to spread the word: We want our neighbors to vote NO on Tennessee’s anti-gay marriage amendment.

We wrapped the church in purple and white ribbon to declare it a “discrimination-free zone.” We chose purple to represent courage; white for its association with marriage and purity of spirit. We had a great event with fine speeches from our minister and a representative from the Tennessee Equality Project’s “Vote NO on 1” campaign. A local television station, WVLT channel 8, dropped in to get coverage of the event, and you can see the script for their report at:

There was a rumor we would have some protestors from a local Baptist church, so we prepared cookies, hot chocolate, and a large poster/sign that said: WELCOME NEIGHBORS. The pastor’s speech even included a wonderful line about our opponents standing up for some families, while we were “standing up for ALL families in Tennessee.”

Oak Ridge UUC has its resolution against the marriage amendement on its web site. A snippet:

We oppose any such discriminatory amendment to the Constitution for the following reasons:

* All people should have the same right to make a legally-recognized commitment to love and family. Such commitments benefit our society.
* Many same-sex couples have taken on the commitment and responsibilities associated with marriage. These families would be permanently denied almost 200 legal rights and protections that civil marriage provides under Tennessee law, and over 1000 under federal law.
* Writing such discrimination into the Constitution jeopardizes any previously existing legal recognition of unions between same-sex couples.
* This amendment is harmful to the children of same-sex couples, jeopardizing protections such as legal custody, insurance coverage, Social Security benefits, and inheritance rights.
* Our Constitution should never be amended to discriminate against any particular group of citizens.

Thanks to all of the parishioners at Oak Ridge UUC for being such great allies.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding