Copyrighted material listed on this page is for educational purposes only according to Title 17, U.S.C. CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: ‘Quiet Issue’ of gay unions gets noisier in S.C.

N.J. ruling for rights of same-sex couples reinvigorates foes

October 28, 2006 – by Charlotte Observer writers Taylor Bright and Jimm Morrill

His 1997 Buick LeSabre with 152,068 miles on it is parked outside, filled with campaign signs urging people to vote for a constitutional ban on gay marriage in South Carolina. On this day he will go to five churches to pass out signs in the rain.

Inside the York Baptist Association in Rock Hill, Park Gillespie is talking about gay marriage, activist judges, the “intolerant left,” radicalization of the courts and social engineering.

What has Gillespie on his soapbox is the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision this week to allow gay couples the same rights as married couples.

In South Carolina, simply passing a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman is not enough: Gillespie and others who campaign for it want to win with 80 percent of the vote.

This is, after all, a state that already has a law against gay marriage, last voted for a Democrat for president 30 years ago, and is home to Bob Jones University, which had a ban on interracial dating until 2000.

“Personally, I don’t want to see a 55 percent or 60 percent vote,” said Mike Wallace, missions development director for the York Baptist Association. “I want to see an 80 percent vote. That would represent South Carolina values.”

Wallace said he started campaigning in earnest for the amendment only two or three weeks ago because, “it really has been a quiet issue up to this point.”

After the New Jersey ruling, something clicked with Wallace.

“It reminded me that we are at risk in South Carolina of our good traditional values being overrun,” Wallace said.


Nationally, supporters aren’t losing any sleep about the result.

“South Carolina is one of those states where it’s guaranteed,” said Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network in Washington, D.C. The network is campaigning across the country to pass the amendments banning gay marriage.

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