Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bay area churches choose sides over Amendment 2

Pastors around the bay area used their pulpits Sunday to talk to their congregations about Amendment 2, which, if passed, would place a constitutional ban on gay marriage. The measure's supporters dubbed the day "Marriage Sunday" and asked pastors throughout Florida to give sermons favoring the proposal. Amendment 2's backers argue that only a constitutional amendment prevents existing Florida laws, which currently prohibit gay marriage, from being overturned.

Clergy who oppose the amendment say the religious community is not monolithic. They contend that Amendment 2 could endanger the benefits and rights of all unmarried couples, including the elderly.

Following are excerpts from sermons given Sunday in bay area churches.

For the amendment

The Rev. Tony Smart, Victory Baptist Church, Tampa: "We don't need to redefine what a marriage is. Should we redefine what a pedophile is because the pedophile feels that their rights are being denied them? Should we redefine what a burglar is because he feels his rights are being denied for what he has done? Something that has stood the test of time and has provided so many benefits for society, for humanity, need not be tampered with. We do not need to have the government telling us what a marriage is and what a family is."

What the parishioners say: Amendment 2 "is a good thing to have in place. "Everybody needs to be aware of what this world is coming to, and I do believe that marriage is between two heterosexual people" — Rayvenia Jones, 39, a data entry clerk from Tampa.

The Rev. Mike Grover, Fellowship Baptist Church, Thonotosassa: "The fact of the matter is that if God did not have an opinion on the issue, I would not have a dog in the fight! My conviction and zeal for the issue is that God has spoken. God has given his word. His opinion has been recorded and the record has been constant and available for centuries. As Bible-believing Christians, we must love and defend the institution of traditional marriage!"

Against the amendment

The Rev. Sue Sherwood, Good Samaritan United Church of Christ, Pinellas Park: "I believe that civil unions and civil rights are the state's business, but marriage is not. Marriage is God's business and it should be the responsibility of the individual churches, faiths and couples to determine who will marry. I respect the individual's right to interpret Scripture. Right now, however, one flavor of religion is dictating the state's definition of marriage, which I see as a violation of the separation of church and state and of the rights of some in our congregation."

What the parishioners say: "I'm dead set against it. It's an imposition of the state on people's freedoms" — Christopher Johnson, 54, of St. Petersburg, an adjunct instructor of humanities at Hillsborough Community College.

The Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater: "I believe this amendment, if passed, would do nothing to stabilize the institution of marriage or strengthen families and instead, would help write discrimination, prejudice and second-class citizenship into the state Constitution. Because of the ambiguous wording and narrow interpretation of marriage, this amendment would not only be an assault on the rights and privileges of same-gender couples but also on all opposite-gender couples, particularly seniors, who choose to be in loving, committed but 'unmarried' relationships."

How state voters feel about Amendment 2

The most recent polls on Amendment 2 show that the outcome of the measure is too close to call. To pass, the proposed amendment must get 60 percent of voters' approval. The choices of undecided voters will be critical.

August 2008

57% Approve

36% Disapprove

7% Undecided

October 2008

55% Approve

34% Disapprove

11% Undecided

Source: Mason-Dixon Polling and Research

Bay area churches choose sides over Amendment 2 10/19/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 23, 2008 6:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.