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Former Valley pair applauds Obama’s gay marriage stance

Published: Thu, May 10, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.


Glorianne Leck of Bloomington, Ind., wraps a blanket around her partner, Susan Savastuk, during a March 2011 rally at the Indiana Statehouse. Leck and Savastuk had a commitment ceremony in Youngstown in 1995 and support same-sex marriage.

By Ashley Luthern



It’s been almost 17 years since Glorianne Leck and Susan Savastuk had a commitment ceremony in Youngstown, and their relationship still is going strong.

The couple, who now reside in Indiana, cheered President Barack Obama’s pronouncement Wednesday that he supports same-sex marriage.

“It’s been slow, but it’s progress, and I think it’s to be credited to education of young people who are not threatened by gay people. I think this is really a generational thing,” said Leck, who taught at Youngstown State University for 30 years and recently received the university’s Heritage Award.

Leck said she was surprised when a Vindicator reporter covered their 1995 commitment ceremony. She said she and Savastuk planned the ceremony, in part, because they were assured they wouldn’t lose their jobs as a professor and nurse, respectively.

“We didn’t want to live in the closet; it’s a terribly frightening place. We wanted to live our lives open and honest,” Leck said.

They went through commitment training before exchanging vows, but even though they had a marriage-strength commitment, they did not have the legal rights of marriage.

“We’ve had to write contracts. For example, we have a contract so we could be the primary visitor in the hospital. We each have control of the other’s body after death. ... If you’re gay and not married, then you don’t have any of those rights automatically,” she said.

Leck said attitudes about same-sex marriage are changing and the president’s statement mirrors that.

Anita Davis of Youngstown agrees.

Davis is one of the founders of Pride Youngstown, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The group has an annual Pride festival, which is scheduled for June 30 this year and will include commitment ceremonies.

“There’s a greater percentage of people — not that they approve of same-sex marriage — but they don’t see why there would be a prohibition,” Davis said.

“What’s the difference? Marriage is marriage. It’s a declaration of your commitment to another person,” she added.

But in Ohio and many other states, there is a legal difference. A 2004 Ohio constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman was approved with 61.7 percent of the vote.

That won’t change because of the president’s remarks. In fact, the president said in the same interview that states should continue to decide the issue independently.

Pastor Kenneth Donaldson of Rising Star Baptist Church on the city’s East Side said the president’s comments haven’t changed his opinion.

“It does not surprise me one iota. It doesn’t surprise me because he’s always supported [same-sex marriage.] That’s why I never voted for him,” he said.

The Catholic Church has been very clear in its position on same-sex marriage, said Monsignor Robert Siffrin of St. Edward Parish.

“We are very concerned about supporting family and traditional marriage because of the good that we see that comes from it. We’re not taking a stand against anyone; it’s a stand for marriage and family life,” he said.

But even among clergy, support for same-sex marriage can be found.

The Rev. Bradley Pace of St. John’s Episcopal Church said same-sex marriage, while a “very, very complicated issue” for theological, political and philosophical reasons, has general support from the Episcopal Church.

“The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio has sanctioned same-sex marriage, so we’re working on liturgies now,” he said.

He added that he was impressed by the president’s remarks partially because they came so soon after voters in North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.


1BigJim2234(57 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Obama has people around him that do nothing but figure out his next move ,,,This was a bad move politically...Forget debating if its right or wrong...Im talking straight political....it cost him votes in the end!

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2willinnyny(118 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

We are very happy to read about this happy and proud Gay couple in a Youngstown publication. In the title of this aritcle, however, it would have been far more appropriate and respectful for the editor of "The Vindicator" to call the these long-term, commited lesbians a "couple" rather than a "pair." The word "couple" often refers to people in a marriage or committed relationship. The word "pair" could refer to shoes, for example.

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3nonchalant(12 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Obama slaps real marriage which is between a man and a woman and major religions in the face.

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4SemiRetired22(29 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Better get used to it. Were taking over.

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5republicanRick(1716 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

If you are a Catholic how do you vote for Obama?

Obama attempts to put himself above the Bible and God.

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6Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I could care less either way. The only reason Obama came out with this, is he's only trying to get as many votes as he can. Can't wait to see what voters he's going to try to get next.

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7silentgrandpa(22 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

He just lost my vote.

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8Max(98 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Obama will say whatever he needs to say to try to get re-elected. When will people learn this!

I am neither condemning nor condoning his stance. The problem is, IT'S NOT HIS TRUE STANCE. In 1995 he was FOR gay marriage; in 2008, during the national election, he was AGAINST gay marriage. Now is 2012, he decides he might garner more votes, so he's back to being FOR gay marriage. This guy is worthless!

How can we believe a word he says? We can't! I am so disappointed in Obama. When he first came onto the scene, even before the 2008 election, I was so excited about him. Since his election, I have become more and more disgusted by him. America was duped.

Time to give someone else a chance. And if that guy doesn't cut it, then he needs to go over after 1 term, as well.

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9walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

You have it backward. The govt. does not prevent homosexuals from marrying. The states license marriage and thus have the power to declare what marriage is. The state has defined mariage as the social institution where one man and one woman live together as a husband and wife using legal commitments, ostensively for the purpose of family-building. In a heterosexual relationship, we know which are husband and wife. Do we guess in a homosexual relationship or do they state it? What if we define marriage as one man and multiple woman? Or, one man and his horse?

The institution of marriage was developed a long time ago as a meaningful social construct for the best means of preservation and progression of mankind. It is unfortunate that mankind has devolved the institution. I don't care if two guys want to bugger each other brains out but there is no reasonable purpose to legitimize it by saying they are married.

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10Billy_Bob(60 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

All this is a ploy to teach the younger generation that it is OK when it really isn't. Marriage should be between a man and a woman.

I agree, everyone has the right to happiness, but the sanctity of marriage is a sacred vow that has always been for heterosexual partners.

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11RoddAC(102 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

lol and lol and lol. Most of the negative comments have me actually laughing...no, not really, but a large smile, especially from "openminded" who can readily and accurately define what is anti-God. In my religion, we try not to judge people for whom they love, but rather for whom they hate. Sounds to me like most of these negative souls are scared, frightened. Is that faith? Not sure.

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12RoddAC(102 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

On, by the way. BOTH of these women have contributed tremendously to our local community in so many ways that have nothing to do with who they love. I'd love to compare them to the judgemental people who probably live in fear, take more than they give, and are miserable. Let it be, let it be.

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13Max(98 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

You are so right Billy Bob. And by calling homosexual unions a marriage, we are opening the door to more problems. Next thing you know, some nut is going to want to "marry" his dog. Hey, he has the right to love whomever he wants, right? Where does it end?

And anyway, it doesn't matter what Obama says he believes. First of all, he doesn't really believe it. He's just saying so.

And secondly, it's not going to change anything anyway. He's not going to act on it. He's not planning on doing anything about it. He's just saying it to appease the gay activists who were threatening to pull their financial support. So people have no reason to get all worked up over his statement. It's just more Obama blabber.

He needs to go...

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14DwightK(1535 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Who cares if gay people marry? What does that have to do with my marriage or your marriage?

The issue here is if two adults in a committed relationship want to marry, why shouldn't they? What are the consequences? Isn't it normal for people who are inlove with one another to get married?

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15LoveWins(35 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

"Christian marriage is an institution of the church, not that of the government. Therefore, the government should have no power to tell churches what they can and cannot do regarding Christian marriage.

Similarly, it is not the right of Christians, regardless of their view of homosexuality, to tell others how they are to arrange their own consensual contracts. Therefore, if a homosexual couple wishes to file a contract and they want to call it a “marriage contract,” then that is their prerogative and I have no right to forbid them from doing so. If they want to call it a “civil union” instead, that’s fine as well."

- Norman Horn, libertarianchristians.com
Please note, a LIBERTARIAN CHRISTIAN wrote this.

If Christians are so worried about protecting the sanctity of marriage, maybe they should also work on BANNING DIVORCE.

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16Billy_Bob(60 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

You can accept the way things have changed, but you certainly don't have to contribute....

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17Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

So Barak Obama wants to allow marriage between two women or two men , and he is claiming that the basis for this is their civil rights. OK I can listen to his claim with an open mind, but then one has to ask oneself that if it is a civil right for a man and another man to marry or a woman and another woman to marry, then why is it not also a civil right for a man to marry ten wives.The claim is that it is between two consenting adults so therefore no one's being hurt. That same logic applies if it is between eleven consenting adults. Will a supported of gay "marriage" please explain to me why this change should NOT also apply to polygamy marriages. I mean a civil right is a civil right is it not.
So we are going to go from Johnny has two Daddies, or Julia has two Mommies , to Alfred has a Daddy and ten Mommies. Welcome to the "liberal agenda."

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18praxis95(51 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Gay activists pushed for the redefining of marriage, civil unions were not enough, marriage had to be redefined. The public pushed back and now 33 States have Constitutional amendments to their State Constitutions defining marriage as a union b/w one man and one woman. The Federal defense of marriage act defines marriage as a "union b/w one man and one woman."

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19Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Sorry it should have read,

"Will a supporter of gay "marriage" please explain to me why this change should NOT also apply to polygamy marriages."

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20redeye1(5615 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

All of this is just plain BS from BO. He will do anything to get re-elected . Let's face it , he surely can't run on his own record. I can only hope that this idiot gets voted out in Nov.

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21jtamarkin(37 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Right now, there may be more people in this country "married" to a dog (or cat) than to another human being. Ah, the good old days...Ozzie and Harriet, sexually demented murderous Caligulas, blacks in the back of the bus, no women voting, senators walking in public with their little boy "partners"...thank god (or whomever) we are living now. And as I wrote to my oldest son recently: "The good news is that almost every second there is less racism and other negativity in the USA, as another old reactionary American dies."

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22jtamarkin(37 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

As for Obama...and Romney...their debates should be live on SNL. And all of their answers, torts and retorts must include the words "yes, no and flipflop." Keep the cameras rolling during commercial breaks, and we can listen to our illustrious "leaders" babble: "How do I look? Am I winning? Am I coming off like the narcissist that I am? Which way is the wind blowing today?"

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23stewie(109 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

So, what all you morons and racist homophobes are saying is that being gay is acquired preference not born with. That gays don't believe in God, make no positive contributions to society,and the guy you can't stand because he's half black is President and has done a better job than the last guy who almost destroyed this country financially isn't allowed to have a personal opinion. Yeah, hitler wanted the perfect race also, remember how that turned out. Hey, if someone wants a wedding , great ! as long as I don't have to attend, I'm happy.

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24excel(1254 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

So now they resort to name calling when other opinions are expressed.

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25PJR(20 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The door is being opened to utter chaos. What if the Obama rocks sexualy liberated crowd want to marry more than one parter at a time? To deny them would be homophobic.

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26excel(1254 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Surely the gays and lesbians have no sin within.

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27DwightK(1535 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Can we please leave polygamy out of this discussion? It has no bearing on whether two people want to marry.

What if someone a couple thousand years ago had said people of the opposite sex couldn't marry because it would lead to homosexuals wanting to marry some day? See? it's a ridiculous form of arguing.

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28rocky14(830 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

God made Adam and Eve--not Adam and Steve.
That being said,whoever votes against Obama for this was already going to vote against him.

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29MFC997(261 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Liberals have a martyr complex and this proves it. Thanks for the gift Barry. It will pay great dividends come election time.

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30misterlee(118 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Yeah Robert, because these to sexy ladies look like their relationship is based entirely on lust for eachother's hot bodies. Do you lust for other men but control your urges? When did you choose to be a heterosexual.

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31walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

What bold statement did Barry make anyway? He thinks gay couples should be able to get married but he is not going to advance any federal agenda. He still thinks it's a state-issue. Not one state has ever had a referendum issue on permitting gay marriages pass. However, he is going to speak to Hollywood people tomorrow at a fund-raiser. I'm sure Clooney and Baldwin will get these thinkers to open up their checkbooks and support Barry. In the meantime, the schmucks in fly-over country will look at this incompetent boob and wonder how their great-grandchildren will ever be able to pay off the trillions in debt he keeps incurring.

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32redvert(2239 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

If two males or two females can't produce a child by themselves, it does tell you what nature thinks of these combos! Nature has done all it can to try to eliminate the he and he and the she and she thing!!!

Brown, don't know why gay women look angry or why many of the gay men have that certain primpy sound to their voice.

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33ytownredux(117 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Well at least we know all of these negative posters are not Christians. We all know that Jesus said "The greatest commandment is to love one another as I have loved you." and there sure is no love up in these comments, so thanx for sorting out all the non-christians for us, we know you are just bigots now and homophobes. I definitely appreciate the clarity.

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34excel(1254 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The bible seems to address the issue of gays and lesbians very clearly.

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35uetz(38 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Such a terrible and disgusting thing. Same sex marriage is an abomination equal with bestiality.

This country can't seem to figure out why it is going to Hell in a handbasket, yet we have the President approving gay marriage. The farther away we get from God, the more vile things like this you will see come to pass.

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36navygirl(14 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

It's sad people from Youngstown are so ignorant and out of date.

I won't be voting for Obama but this shouldn't even be an issue.

People deserve to be happy. It's obvious people in Youngstown aren't happy gay or straight.

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37uetz(38 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

@ytownredux: So, judging from your comment, in your closed mind, all Christians are perfect people who must remain positive 100% of the time and have no faults, otherwise a non-believer like yourself will be waiting right there, ready to pounce on any imperfections shown by a Christian and put it on the front page. If only people like you spent more time looking in the mirror instead of over-analyzing others' words.

And regardless, what is there to be positive about here?

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38dblbogey(17 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

@navygirl. Truer words! Here Here!

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39ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I`m so sick of this "gay' crap being shoved in our face. You want to be gay, be my guest. I don`t want to hear about it because I don`t condone it. No other species on this planet is gay. When gays and lesbians now want to ruin the institution of marriage, I have a problem. Marriage is for man and wife, that`s it. There is no reason for it to be any other way.

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40willinnyny(118 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I was born and raised in Youngstown back when it was a thriving city, but I no longer live there because my education took me to centers of higher learning. Reading the hateful, ignorant, stupid comments that have been made about Gay civil marriage makes me glad I left the backward, backwater, dump that Youngstown has become. God help you all in Youngstown as you sink into your oblivion of ignorance and hatred.

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41republicanRick(1716 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Willinny has noticed that some people in Youngstown do not share his view so ALL Youngstowners are backward and ignorant, in his view.

I once knew a perverted gay guy who preyed on young kids. So, by Willinny's standards, ALL gay people are perverted creeps.

Hate and ignorance go both ways Willy.

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42Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

You stated "Can we please leave polygamy out of this discussion? It has no bearing on whether two people want to marry."
If this is going to be considered a civil rights issue, then civil rights should be for all don't you agree.
If it is the right for two gay guys to marry, then should not those same rights extent to ten women and one guy. After all a right is a right is it not. If BillyBob wants to marry SallyLou, they are two people that should be given that right. If BillyBob also wants to marry SallyLou's sister BettyLou he should be allowed also for as the liberal agenda states it is between two people. BillyBob should be allowed to marry every one of SallyLou's sisters, heck for that matter BillyBob should be allowed to marry SallyLou's Mother and Grandmother to boot.
If it is to be viewed as a civil right why is it that it can't be extended to everyone, BillyBob, the Mormon guy down the street , and the Arab lurking in the shadows.

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43Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

DwightK try answering this question
"Will a supporter of gay "marriage" please explain to me why this change should NOT also apply to polygamy marriages."

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44Westsider(269 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

As someone with lesbians in my family, I have no right to tell anyone who to love and how to live. That said - I also do not have to support marriage between other than a man and woman. If people want to have commitment ceremonies and provide the documentation necessary for health benefits, survivorship and designation of next of kin, fine. If they want to hold hands and publicly display their affecton for one another - that is also fine (within limits - I don't actually approve of that for heterosexual relationships). However, to have the President of the United States (coincidentally ?) reveal his personal preference immediately prior to a fundraiser involving people from the arts who are most affected by this issue is ridiculous. It shows how concerned the President is that his re-election is in jeopardy and that he will say and do anything to get the votes. Let's not talk about the shabby recovery. Mr. Obama has discovered that he can no longer blame everything on President Bush - and he does not have the success metrics to support his re-election. However, here in the blue-collar, welfare-fed and bred Mahoning Valley - that won't matter. There will be a blind following because of the "D" next to his name. No wonder this area continues to struggle.

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45PJR(20 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

What a lovely couple. It looks like they are in the twilight of their occupation of this earth. Their golden years. So what is missing? Children? Getting married wont fulfill the void. You only reap what you sow or dont sow.

We have a contract with God when we are born that gives us privledges when life is lived accordingly. The Bible spells it out very well.

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46ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Why is it that whenever someone says they are against gay or lesbian marriage they are labeled homophobic, outdated, or close minded? Why can`t it just be an opinion of someone who just believes in the sanctity of an institution that has been a part of human lives for thousands of years?
Is it that important for gays and lesbians to valid themselves that they have to call their union a marriage?

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47peacelover(838 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

@ onthetown, you have it right.

Now, anyone who bases their decision on who to vote for in November solely on this issue and this issue alone -- you sure are pathetic.

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48ytownredux(117 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

@uetz, i look in the mirror everyday, and recognize my faults, I am just not as ignorant as you and the so called "Christians" who like to cast aspersions on them. You know what else it is equal to in abominations, now that you bring it up @uetz in the same chapter it calls touching the skin of a dead pig, working on saturdays, wearing polyester, and few dozen other things an abomination as well.

Marry has always been a contract, it started with dowrys and collecting property and strengthening kingdoms. If you use the absurd argument about children, lets stop senior citizens or those who cant have children annul their marriages or never remarry.

This has NO bearing on the way you live YOUR life, get over it, this is what they said about black and white marriages 40 years ago. You are on the wrong side of history and look foolish and full of bigotry and prejudice.

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49praxis95(51 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Marriage through out recorded human history was always been b/w men and women. Our Constitution requires our society be tolerant of opposing points of view. What one group finds morally objectionable, provided it is not illegal, must be tolerated. Their is a difference b/w tolerance and acceptance.

I think the majority of people who are opposed to redefining marriage have no problem with same sex civil unions. But the pro gay crowd reject this compromise and want to redefine marriage and every other social norm b/c they, the pro gay crowd, want homosexuality to be considered normal and acceptable behavior. The pro gays attack any opposing point of view with piss and vinegar demonstrating their intolerance.

Christianity requires a believe in the axiom "love the sinner, hate the sin."

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50LtMacGowan(713 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Some one said this was a slap in the face to religion. Not good enough. Organized religion needs a firm swift kick to the ...

The arguments against gay marriage being used now are exactly like those used against interracial marriage years before.

Whats even more interesting is the arguments and accusations that came from President Obama's desperately needed healthcare reform are almost exactly the same as those that came from FDR's Social Security act. It looks like the GOP lifted them word for word. I guess nobody can accuse them of original thinking..

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51bumbob(146 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Know what the first steps to equality look like? Just like this.

"I won't be voting for Obama this election. That would make too much sense."

Way to go, Mr. President. Many people live quiet lives of shame because of the bigotry so prevalent against their sexuality. This announcement goes a long way towards obliterating that intolerance.

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52nanana(15 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Well pardon me if I dont feel your excitement over Obama's endorsement.

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53ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

To all the heterosexual women who gave birth,

Happy Mother`s Day!

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54LtMacGowan(713 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

An important part of democracy is to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. If you look at these state wide referendums, its always like 52 - 48% OF the 60% of people who actually voted. You can't have a slim majority declaring that almost half of the state's beliefs are totally wrong and gay marriage needs to be forever forbidden.

Stuff like this that concerns civil liberties should require like a 60% or higher vote to pass

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55JoeSmith(4 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Are you going to marry your dog now?
Cmon I hear these crazy arguments from the Republicans all the time..
they are just stupid, insecure losers.

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56VCPrice(1 comment)posted 4 years, 1 month ago


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57gordy850(22 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I can not accept the same sex marriage concept in my mind. I will never understand it or get it. I believe a (1) man and a (1) woman constitute a marriage and nothing else. I have my own core values, and they will not change. If you don't stand for something in your life, then you don't stand for anything.

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