Crowd in Columbia protests California's same-sex marriage ban

Saturday, November 15, 2008 | 8:21 p.m. CST; updated 11:40 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 15, 2008
From left, Linda Hayes, Clayton Hayes and Claire Garden hold signs and listen to speakers at the protest of the passage of Proposition 8 in California on Saturday, Nov. 15, at Boone County Courthouse. "I believe everyone should be treated fairly and equally," Hayes said, "and that includes my straight daughter and my gay son," Linda Hayes said.

COLUMBIA — More than 100 people bundled in coats, scarves, hats and gloves gathered on Saturday afternoon in front of the Boone County Courthouse in the ear-numbing cold and a stiff wind to protest the passage of California’s Proposition 8.

The proposition banning same-sex marriage passed in California in the Nov. 4 election with 52 percent of the vote. It had been introduced to reinstate a ban on same-sex marriage that was overturned by the California Supreme Court earlier this year.


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Protests were planned for Saturday in cities nationwide, said Nick Wheat, an organizer for the Columbia protest. Wheat, along with co-organizers Mark Buhrmester and Caitlin Ellis, advertised on Facebook, MySpace, the national “Join the Impact” Web site and through local organizations such as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.    

“We (the gay community and supporters) did this nationwide protest for solidarity and to push back against discrimination,” Wheat said.

On the steps in front of the courthouse, using a small PA system, Buhrmester called the crowd together. He introduced the afternoon’s speakers and addressed the question of why Missourians and others outside of California were protesting an amendment that doesn’t directly affect them.

“The truth of the matter is that the hopes and fears of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community were riding on Proposition 8, and our hopes were dashed, and our fears were met," Buhrmester said. "So that’s why we are here together — to stand up for our rights with our friends and our community."

Dick Blount, a retired United Methodist minister, was one of the guests invited by Buhrmester to speak. Blount moved to Columbia in 1991 after retiring, and he and his wife have been members of Missouri United Methodist Church since 1996. 

Blount said he hopes they can make the issue personal, rather than political. "These are our children; these are our family; these are our fellow citizens," he said. "We need to know them as people with a face."

Linda Hayes of Columbia stood in the crowd listening to the speakers and held a sign she made that read "Parents for Equal Civil Rights."

"I believe everyone should be treated fairly and equally," Hayes said, "and that includes my straight daughter and my gay son."

Rick Puig, president of the Young Democrats of Missouri, acknowledged the losses of the past but focused on a future of change when he addressed the crowd.

"The good news is that we’re on the right side of history," Puig said. "This is our movement, this is our moment, and we’ve got to own it because if we don’t stand up, no one else will. So take these lessons that we’ve learned from California. Don’t be discouraged."

Denise Gilmore, a Columbia resident and former Clinton delegate to the Democratic National Convention, said she hoped the protest would bring ordinary citizens together to draw attention to the need for change. 

Change doesn't only happen in Washington, D.C., or Jefferson City, Gilmore said; "it can happen on my street corner."

Missouri’s own constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed on Aug. 3, 2004, with 71 percent of the state’s vote, although 52.6 percent of Columbia residents voted against the amendment. Missouri was the first state to vote on such an amendment.

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Ray Shapiro November 17, 2008 | 8:10 a.m.

It's not a civil right issue, it's a moral issue.
In my opinion, both the government and the church should stay out of the "gay marriage" agenda and leave it up to their attorneys to write up documents for their cohabitation.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 17, 2008 | 8:25 a.m.

I agree with you ray.

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Ayn Rand November 17, 2008 | 8:55 a.m.

The irony -- one that this article doesn't mention -- is that 49 percent of white voters supported Prop 8, but 70 percent of blacks did. Hispanics also backed it by a wide margin. In Florida, Amendment 2 got 60 percent of the white vote, 71 percent from blacks and 64 percent from Hispanics.

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Nikki Brasen November 17, 2008 | 10:44 a.m.

I think that it's pretty narrow-minded to just say that people in this situation should rely on a lawyer to draft up a document. That doesn't give them any more rights than they had before, really. It doesn't handle problems with child custody, insurances through jobs, spousal rights, tax rights and perks, ect. Even so, you can sit and say that they should be denied the rights you take for granted everyday, simply because you don't agree with the fact that they live their lives with a partner of the same sex rather than one of the opposite sex. They say your spouse should be your best friend. What about when your best friend is the same gender? We're all people, and we're all equal, whether you want to believe that or not.

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Charles Dudley Jr November 17, 2008 | 11:37 a.m.

Nikki Brasen you obviously know very little about how legal documented contracts can be drawn up these days. They are just like a "pre nup" in a way where it gives either party equal rights and equal say so in the joint venture they wish to partake in.

If the Federal Government wants to make up such legislation as ray shapiro suggests then they will.

So far in all of my theological biblical studies I have done over the years I still cannot find one place in any version of any biblical reading that is translated from the
original texts whether it be the King James Bible,the Koran,The Book of Mormon or any other version where a Higher Power as those sects understand it to be condones homosexuality or any of it's practices in any way shape or form. In fact in most all of your modern church beliefs it is condemned and is thought to be one of the precursors to bring in the "Great Tribulation" that is to befall all mankind at the end of days which we are in according to many biblical scholars and theologists.

I agree with ray shapiro.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 17, 2008 | 12:26 p.m.

In response to N. Brassen: I don't think my premise is narrow-minded. It's based on traditional family values, observations of nature and behavior, takes into consideration the midset of both secular proggressives and religous right advocacy groups and puts some money into the pockets of lawyers.
You can have a best friend, but if that "best friend" is also your homosexual bed lover, at least have some respect for the English language. Words like "marriage" and "spouse" have traditional, societal, religious, cultural, mainstream, emotional, and functional connotations. Creating "Gay Ebonics" adds to this "nuance" of disrespect.
As far as I am concerned, the term "gay marriage" is an oxymoran.
I say, let the lawyers work out the language and the arrangements. The "free market business environment" can also work in tandem with these "new order homosexual partnerships" so that these folks don't miss out on whatever "benefits" and "perks" you may be looking for.
There is an animal subset on this planet we call human beings. I am part of that species. So are you. But believe it or not, people are not equal.
That's what makes each of us unique. It's also called being different. That's not inherently a bad thing, to be different. It becomes a problem when you disrespect each others differences.
That is why I suggest the Church and Government get out of the "marriage business" and let the lawyers have a field day with it.
If you don't like that idea, sue me!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 17, 2008 | 12:31 p.m.

No matter what legal documents are drawn up, there are some government services and benefits that do not transfer from one spouse to another when both are gay, Social Security survivor benefits being one of the big ones that I am aware of.

I find it pretty hypocritical that Ray and Chuck want the government to "do more" for the disabled when the government has already done too much for (or against, really) gay couples.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 17, 2008 | 12:40 p.m.

Whether you're gay or straight, don't bet on Social Security being around when you retire.

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Charles Dudley Jr November 17, 2008 | 12:59 p.m.

John Schultz last I checked being "gay" has not been classified as a "disability" but being "gay" is a choice of morals as well as life style which is a totally different animal unless you want to now say that being "gay" is a "Developmental Disorder" type of disability and then you will have to prove that to the Mental Health world as a whole along with the Radical Religious Right.

There is no comparison to the types of advocacy that ray shapiro,I and others work for on a daily basis compared to the moral choice of being "gay".

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 17, 2008 | 1:21 p.m.

John Schultz, Where is my hypocrisy? Please be more specific regarding Ray Shapiro's hypocrisy concerning finding a solution to the plight of gays?
If you are just trying to shut me down from future postings, I have no problem "retiring" from this poorly regulated posting site, especially with your name calling and mixing of topics. I will graciously bow-out and let you and Chuck battle it out. I don't pretend to be an "alpha-male" and have nothing to prove to you or Chuck.
In response to your name calling, on the surface your "hypocrisy" crack, aimed at my posting, is sort of like saying issues concerning the color of your skin is the same as equating homosexual behavior with heterosexual behavior.
If you start mixing apples and oranges and insist they're absolutely the same, then you are the hypocrite. (I will concede however that they are both fruit!)
In keeping with this newspaper article, I would be more interested in how you would propose to address any loopholes to my premise of having the lawyers figure this "gay thing" out, instead of putting it on the politicians we vote into office? The way it's done now seems to reek of collusion.

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Charles Dudley Jr November 17, 2008 | 2:30 p.m.

ray shapiro I'm on your side there guy not on John Schultz's by far due to all he can do is come up with insults and meaningless conjectures but will claim them always as facts.

ray shapiro just take everything he says or posts with the tiniest grain of sand you can imagine.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 17, 2008 | 4:33 p.m.

Chuck: Amongst other things, I walked with the "brothers and sisters" during the MLK days, peacefully advocated for the end of the VietNam war, became a good "cheerleader" for the feminist movement, worked in New York City with inner-city youths and volunteered at Senior Citizen facilities in Kansas City. John Schultz is not going to influence the manner in which I choose to help others. I just don't know what he is trying to accomplish with his personal slights without declaring what his "take" on this news article happens to be. In my opinion, it presents only one-side of an issue. The 2 articles I included in my previous post points out that some may see this as a civil rights issue, others see it as a moral issue. I present it as a combination of issues and concerns.
I focused more on the "moral and legal" realm because the media downplays these aspects. I also value the concept of "traditional marriage" and consider "sexual behavior" and "marriage" as choices. There is a difference between choice and orientation, but that is what separates man from beast. (I find it ironic that you poked fun at "homosexuality" being classified as a psychiatric disorder or a developmental disability. "Gays" have a "history" with that one as well.)
I consider militant gay activists as being "duped" by a larger movement, and choose to try to steer them in a different direction than "civil rights" not because I see them as inferior human beings, but perhaps as people who could be making better choices. Consider the following:

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 17, 2008 | 6:37 p.m.

ray shapiro I was not poking fun at them by far but was hoping to get something out of John Schultz since as you point out the obvious he can only use personal attacks but he will not come out openly nor "come out of the closet" on the issue.

ray shapiro I can understand you on the "duped" part as alot of citizens willingly "drink the kool aid".

ray shapiro you know I usually always agree with most of what you say here online or we talk about over coffee.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 18, 2008 | 4:35 p.m.
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Charles Dudley Jr November 18, 2008 | 4:52 p.m.

John Schultz there is a huge difference between being disabled which is not a life choice and being gay which is a life choice of morality and life style.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro November 19, 2008 | 12:37 a.m.
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Charles Dudley Jr November 19, 2008 | 3:25 a.m.
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Kansas Wiley Stafford November 19, 2008 | 7:41 a.m.

How is being gay a moral issue? Morality speaks to how you treat your fellow man - like kindness, honesty, and doing the right thing. What in the world does being gay have to do with any of these?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 19, 2008 | 8:09 a.m.

Kansas Wiley Stafford let me use a quote from an article I found online last night:

Quoted: Consider the obvious problem of survival for individuals who allegedly possess a gay gene: individuals who have partners of the same sex are biologically unable to reproduce (without resorting to artificial means). Therefore, if an alleged “gay gene” did exist, the homosexual population eventually would disappear altogether. We now know that it is not scientifically accurate to refer to a “gay gene” as the causative agent in homosexuality. The available evidence clearly establishes that no such gene has been identified. * >>>Additionally, evidence exists which documents that homosexuals can change their sexual orientation.<<<< (the morality issue of it is proven that it has to do with a life choice not a genetic choice thus it is a subject or morals) Future decisions regarding policies about, and/or treatment of, homosexuals should reflect this knowledge.

*If you read the entire article from start to finish you will see where I post my pint of view from.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 19, 2008 | 9:07 a.m.

A quote from that same article (on a creationist site for full disclosure of where they are coming from):

"Evan S. Balaban, a neurobiologist at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, noted that

the search for the biological underpinnings of complex human traits has a sorry history of late. In recent years, researchers and the media have proclaimed the “discovery” of genes linked to alcoholism and mental illness as well as to homosexuality. None of the claims...has been confirmed (as quoted in Horgan, 1995)."

So does this mean that society should not longer protect the rights of the mentally-ill since their behavior is obviously not genetic and they can change their behavior, just like gays and lesbians should in your world?

(Report Comment)
M L November 19, 2008 | 9:40 a.m.

Charles, so those who are disabled by their own decision should then fall into the same category as the gay community. You chose to drive your car, you chose to join the army, you chose to climb that ladder. All are life choices and life styles, yet not tied to morality. Why should sexual orientation be any other way? Is that slippery slope one that you would like to balance on.
There are plenty of examples of homosexuality in nature, and sure not all of them are explained. Because we can't explain some of them does not mean they aren't normal, and in some cases might confer some sort of advantage.
As far as a genetic link our understanding of the genome is still in its infancy, and as we learn more we learn how much more complex the regulatory mechanisms that exist. A lack of evidence at this point means nothing.
In the end the simple fact is that you are intolerant of those with a different life choice than your own. Don't try to ride your high moral horse with insufficient science.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 19, 2008 | 9:50 a.m.

Matthew Laye present here how one becomes disabled by their own decision.

Now if they make a mistake that would obviously cause a life long disability injury then we can equate your statement to that only.

Nobody last I checked wants to be disabled that is for sure so either you are disabled from birth by genetic defect or you become disabled due to circumstances beyond your own control that impair your life to a point where your own survival might or could be in question.

This also can be related to the question that Ayn Rand refuses to answer of "What is a true disability".

Once again nobody wants to be disabled as you might suggest by your opening statement.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 19, 2008 | 9:55 a.m.

John Schultz I read that article and you are taking their wording out of context.

Being gay has been proven many times over by leading scientists and psychologists to be a choice of morals. If you do not believe it go research it yourself. I am not here to be your teacher.

Nobody who has a mental illness wants to be that way I can assure you as it is not pleasant to be trapped inside of your own body or your mind and not be able to communicate where others will not look down upon you.

Show me absolute proof that being gay is not a choice of morals in this traditional heterosexual world we live in.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 19, 2008 | 10:32 a.m.

"Matthew Laye present here how one becomes disabled by their own decision."

Someone who eats to excess to the point that he becomes diabetic, then refuses to make lifestyle changes and loses his legs as a result.

Need some more examples?

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Charles Dudley Jr November 19, 2008 | 10:47 a.m.

Ayn Rand there are usually always in 99.9999% of those cases underlying issues that have gone undiagnosed that lead to these problems.

I have made my presentation and I am done with the arguing and the other B.S. that only wants to be posted on this subject by some here.

There is no more to be gained from anymore debating on my part. Hopefully the web administrators make some solid decisions soon to put a halt to all of the personal attacks that are posted here.

Have fun fighting amongst yourselves.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 19, 2008 | 11:04 a.m.
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Mark Foecking November 19, 2008 | 11:36 a.m.

Chuck sez:

"Being gay has been proven many times over by leading scientists and psychologists to be a choice of morals."

No. Homosexual BEHAVIOR has been attacked morally by various religions. The underlying urges are a matter of genetics and life experience. Having homosexual preferences is not a choice. Straight people don't chosse to be straight, either.

"Gay genes" might be preserved because societies force gay people into straight relationships by morality or punishment. Some gays today also choose to have their own children. Many other genetic conditions also persevere even though they do not give the person a reproductive advantage.


(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 19, 2008 | 11:48 a.m.

Isn't also a choice of morals to engage in some of the Seven Deadly Sins until one becomes disabled?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 4, 2009 | 9:44 p.m.

[Homosexuality had been becoming increasingly widespread in Greek society for some centuries. By the time of the death of Alexander the Great, the celebrated cultural norm among the citizenry was a pattern of older married man and youthful male lover(s) -- with a wife who was relegated to the role of mere household manager and child rearer. Epicurus had become convinced that the predominance of homosexual relations in his era was beginning to destroy the value of, and the very possibility for, authentic friendship among men.11 He also believed that it was the chief cause of his culture' downgrading of the female. He seems to have concluded that the best way to promote female equality was to replace the homosexual ideal with that of intellectually based friendship across the genders. Consequently, Epicurus welcomed women to his school on an equal footing with men -- something that was then so revolutionary that he was universally reviled for it.]
Also, Judaic-Christian, Islamic, Wiccans and others have something to say about homosexuality.

(Report Comment)

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