Clashing Views on Gay Marriage to Descend on Orlando

ACLU crowd will rally at one church, National Organization for Marriage at another
By: Nancy Smith | Posted: August 7, 2010 4:05 AM

Expect a collision of very different social values Sunday in Orlando.

In the wake of a federal court ruling that overturned a ban on gay marriage in California, hundreds – maybe thousands – of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Floridians will rally in Orlando Sunday to celebrate and, as they promise in their press release, “spread a message of equality for all Americans.”

Trouble is, they’ve chosen the same day for their rally as the officials at National Organization for Marriage (NOM) did for theirs.

NOM is set to gather at First Christian Church in Winter Park; the LGBT group at nearby Orlando Joy Metropolitan Community Church.

“It was absolutely intentional,” said Ellen Johnson, who identified herself as an NOM spokesperson. “We’re in the middle of a 23-city ‘Summer for Marriage, One Man-One Woman Bus Tour.'  We're coming from Atlanta and our stop in Orlando was planned months ahead, theirs was planned since last Wednesday.

“I can tell you, they’re only doing this to thumb their noses at us and at the institution of marriage between a man and a woman. Well, this is Florida, it isn’t California. We have some powerful people in this state who respect our state Constitution and the laws in it,” Johnson said.

Some of those “powerful people” are running for office. And if ever the National Organization for Marriage wanted to get them on the record in support of their conservative position – and believed they had a chance to do it – it’s now, one day from the start of early voting in Florida

"This being a big year for conservative values, I think the candidates will back us up," Johnson said.

Each of the two GOP gubernatorial candidates, Bill McCollum and Rick Scott, has said his conservative credentials outweigh the other’s. Yet, after U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that California’s Proposition 8 – a ban of marriage between same-sex couples – violated federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process, neither McCollum nor Scott has rushed to the defense of Florida’s similar constitutional ban.

A spokesman for Scott, Trey Stapleton, said Friday, “Rick Scott believes marriage is between a man and a woman.”

McCollum's campaign staff did not return Sunshine State News’ call.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, however, one of three GOP candidates for attorney general, issued perhaps the strongest pro-one-man-one-woman-marriage statement of any candidate in the 2010 race.

“Wednesday’s ruling in California turns on its ear more than 5,000 years of recorded history that establishes marriage is between a man and a woman,” Kottkamp said. “We must intervene in the appeal of this ruling to protect a similar constitutional amendment approved by nearly 62 percent of Floridians in 2008 … the framers of the Constitution would have never envisioned the 14th Amendment being blatantly distorted to attack traditional marriage.”

But, Shelbi Day, LGBT Advocacy Project staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, told Sunshine State News, "The Proposition 8 victory is nothing more than an indication that we can move ahead. It's an important preliminary victory. Expect Judge Walker's ruling to be appealed first to the 9th Circuit and then to the Supreme Court. It's going to take a long time."

Said Day, "What we continue to do here in Florida is to fight the ban on adoptions by gay couples, enacted 33 years ago. That's our major thrust right now."

Sunday's LGBT rally is co-sponsored by the ACLU, Equality Florida and Freedom to Marry. The groups are billing it as "Orlando Rally to Premier 'In Anita's Wake' Documentary; Celebrate LGBT Families and Landmark Victory in Proposition 8 Challenge."

Buddy Dyer, mayor of Orlando -- who apparently does not share the statewide candidates' conservative opinions -- has said he will issue a "proclamation in support of equality for all Floridians."

Meanwhile, Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, would not admit the LGBT rally's scheduling on the same day, in the same town as the NOM rally, was intentional. He said, "In advertising their anti-gay bus tour, NOM referred to supporters of the freedom to marry as those who 'pillage the values of our nation.' We know that the American values of liberty, equality and justice for all are, in fact, for all Americans."

Said NOM's Johnson, "Believe me, these people aren't all sweetness and light. They can be very intimidating to the families on our bus. I wish they had stayed far away from us."


Reach Nancy Smith at, or at (850) 727-0859.



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Comments (6)

Julie from St. Pete
9:44PM AUG 8TH 2010
Post some of the video from for fair and balanced coverage. The rally in Winter Park today was AWESOME!
Rick Walter
4:00PM AUG 8TH 2010
"our stop in Orlando was planned months ahead"

Considering this stop was scheduled for Tampa just a couple weeks ago this should prove to people how much the NOMbies lie, To make it worse they lie in a Church of all places!
3:35PM AUG 8TH 2010
Kottkamp (one of three GOP candidates for attorney general) said: "...the framers of the Constitution would have never envisioned the 14th Amendment being blatantly distorted to attack traditional marriage.”

As a candidate for AG, Kottkamp should know that the "framers" of the Constitution did not write the 14th Amendment; it was added in 1868, a good century after the "framers" and some years after a civil war and after Lincoln had freed the slaves. That is something the framers would never have envisioned. The framers also would never have envisioned giving women the right to vote or lowering the voting age to 18, or removing the proviso that voters must also be landowners.

Really, I would have thought a candidate for state-level Attorney General would have more of a clue about how and when laws came into being in this country. It suggests that perhaps Mr. Kottkamp fails to understand that laws evolve and change and get updated as society moves forward.
Mark L
10:56AM AUG 8TH 2010
I'm stunned that the "reporter" who filed this story would include a link to a video crafted by NOM. The video intentionally exaggerates one incident and is designed to make pro-marriage equality supporters look bad. I guess the silver lining is that sunshinestatenews isn't trying to hide its bias.
2:36AM AUG 8TH 2010
I wanted to comment but someone beat me to the punch on much of what I was going to say. About Maggie Gallaghers moral values of getting pregnant as an unmarried girl, and how NOM is nothing but a new version of the KKK, promoting not white values, but their own corrupt religious beliefs.

For Maggie, it was the catholic church that in 2009 UNexcommunicated a hard right Bishop Williamson. Who is a holocaust denier / minimizer, who said there were no gas chambers and only 200000 or so Jews died, not 6 million.

Well, why did the church do this ? The first question to ask is why they have yet to EXcommunicate history's worst murderer, born and baptised CAtholic in 1888 in Austria. Who detailed how he learned to hate the jews in Mein Kampf.

And hitler leveraged the hatred of Jews over a milenia to take control of germany, and 55 million died, also includign Germany's gays.

But the church has a pope who was born and grew up in Nazi germany. The same madman who told Africans to not use condoms. In a continent where 23 million people are infected, and babies born every day with a death sentence. Such are his religious beliefs.

Which seem to match up with the person who told his people to have more children - to be soldiers for the Wehrmacht. And in Mein Kampf called people nothing but Meat and bones. again, that was Hitler.

And the other person quite well explained that the other main anti-gay group is the people of the southern relgiious culture that gave us slavery, the KKK and segregation.

And gays are just their newest victim. Because they always need someone to hate and demonize, to blind the eye, harden the heart, so they can sell their corrupt brand of love, and keep the collection plate full.

On the other hand, the UU, MCC, UCC, Episcopal, New Light Presbyterians, American Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterian USA , Evangelical Lutherans and Jewish reform and some conservatives all support equality for gay people and allow gay ministers in relationships as clergy.

The whole world is changing. And part of the solution will come from the religions which adhere to Jesus 2nd of only two commandments : "To love thy neighbor as thyself"

Equality and acceptance of gay people as another part of Gods creation is the social justice issue of our time.
4:57PM AUG 7TH 2010
Unfortunately the agenda of NOM is not unlike that of the KKK. They wish to deprive a minority of rights for the simple reason that they don't like that minority. In the cities where NOM has held their hate rallies, few have turned up to support them. The group's founder Maggie Gallagher herself had little or no use for marriage when she became pregnant and had a child out of wedlock. NOM is merely her vain attempt at 15 minutes of fame on the backs of a group she personally hates. Marriage still means little to her and NOM is simply a vehicle for her own self aggrandizement. Gallagher's troubled past and own lack of self worth, has led her to find a minority that she can feel better than. Nothing new here to anyone in Florida who was around at the time of the civil rights movement and the KKK rallies espousing a similar type of hate against a minority. All one need to is to look at the sad type of people who succumb to the influence of these hate groups and it becomes apparent that they are a self loathing fringe minority themselves. I hope that the people of Orlando see this hate rally for what it truly is and like it's counterparts put on by the KKK, avoid any association with it. Certainly any association with NOM can only harm a person's career objectives and community standing.

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