Local leaders speak out on same-sex marriage debate

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

President Bush is starting an aggressive push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

"When judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people the only alternative left to the people is an amendment to the constitution," he said.

Mr. Bush was speaking to a group of Democrats and Republicans who support the amendment. The U.S. Senate will take up the issue this week.

News 12 talked to local political and religious leaders about whether marriage should be defined in the constitution or left up to the states.

It is a debate between states' rights and federal law. Democratic party activist Gloria Greenbaum is against giving control to the national capital.

"It's a very personal issue and should be dealt with by the individual involved," she said.

Religious leaders like pastor Ronnie Faircloth disagree.

"We have to have a federal amendment so we can maintain these values in our culture," Faircloth said.

The Bible defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Greenbaum says a strict interpretation is outdated.

"We don't stone people anymore...we don't do many of those horrible things advocated in the Bible. It should be used as a guideline for a good, moral life," said Greembaum.

"It's the traditional viewpoint of marriage that is the moral fabric of our nation and the family," Pastor Faircloth said.

President Bush plans to model the national law after Georgia's, where judges like Isaac Jolles cannot issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Jolles says states could challenge the federal legislation.

"They might could make an argument this is an issue for states...and the federal government does not have jurisdiction in the states," said Judge Jolles.

A CNN-Gallup poll shows the country is split on who governs marriage.

"It's when people attack it that we feel we need to defend it," Faircloth said.

"I think the government needs to stay out of private business," said Greenbaum.

Just last month, Georgia's constitutional ban on same-sex marriages was struck down on a technicality. The State Supreme Court plans to take up the case this summer.

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