Anti-same-sex marriage rally visits city

By Gus Bode

Jim Finnegan said he never thought he “would have to stand before a crowd defending marriage,” as a union between a man and a woman.

But he did so Wednesday evening, speaking in front of about 75 who attended the forum in support of “traditional” marriage.

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church was the location of an anti-gay marriage tour stop and Carbondale was its tenth stop in a 14-city trip. The tour was collaborative effort of many organizations, including the Illinois Family Institute and Vote life America, to express their beliefs concerning same-sex marriage.


“It’s been this way since the beginning,” said Kathy Valente, president of the Concerned Women for America, an organization that aims to make biblical principles part of public policy. “Any country you go to, with any mainstream religion, marriage is recognized as being between one man and one woman and that was never opposed until recently.”

Just as Louisiana and Missouri legislators have passed laws against same-sex marriage, Valente believes Illinois should do the same. Valente also opposes civil unions, which she called a “counterfeit” form of marriage.

“You don’t look to the government and say ‘what’s the problem with counterfeit money?'” Valente said. “You know that it hurts the economy, and in the same way civil unions devalue our society’s perception of marriage.”

She said the tour provided information on the controversial issue, which she insists affects more than just those who engage in the union.

“It’s not going to hurt my marriage, it’s not going to hurt your parent’s marriage,” Valente said. “But it will hurt future generation’s perception of what marriage is.”

Not everyone agrees that allowing homosexual couples to wed would harm the state of marriage.

Director of Shryock Auditorium Rob Cerchio said he does not understand how allowing homosexuals to marry would have any effect on society. He said he believes there is another reason why people are disapproving of same sex marriage.


“All the people who say that gay marriage hurts other people are grasping at straws so they don’t have admit their hatred for gay people,” Cerchio said. “No matter what the religious right says about loving the sinner and hating the sin, their actions prove otherwise.”

Despite this opinion, many of the speakers at the rally insisted their problem to be with the behavior of gays, not homosexuals themselves.

Burke Shade, a representative the Cornerstone Reformed Church, did not view expressing these beliefs to be an act of hatred, but instead, an “act of kindness.”

Just as people disagree on the issue of same-sex marriage, Randy Carney said, there is some disagreement over how these differences should be handled.

Carney, who is a member of Unity Free Will Baptist Church in West Frankfort, said the definition of marriage is not the only thing changing. He believes the definition is also changing, making it more difficult for individuals to find a common ground on the issue.

According to Carney, modern society is less approving of a person’s decision to disagree with same-sex marriage.

The belief that same-sex marriage was being forced upon society through proposed legislation, prompted some politicians, such as Erin Zweigart to attend.

Zweigart, a candidate for the 12th District Congressional race, said same-sex marriage should be denied, just as pedophilia and marriage between family members is denied.

She said that eliminating what she referred to as “overactive judiciaries” would allow the system to work in a way that accommodates the beliefs of Illinois residents.

Zweigart said “traditional” marriage is important because it is the most productive for society.

For others, such as Tom Hobson, who is a member of the First United Presbyterian Church in Pinckneyville, same-sex marriage is simply “as essential as H20.”

Despite their various reasons, Cerchio said he had never heard a legitimate argument against same-sex marriage.

“The definition for marriage is not the same as it was 500 years ago,” Cerchio said. “And yes it’s going to change it, but so what?

“I don’t understand how giving someone a right that someone else doesn’t have is going to hurt someone who does.”