Local Church Opposes Gay Marriage Amendment

Tennessee has become the fourth state to schedule a public vote on a constitutional amendment designed to block homosexuals from marrying.

The Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church and several other community members strongly oppose Tennessee's marriage amendment, and today they made a unique way of showing it.

"We have put up some tape all the way around the church, to declare this church a discrimination-free zone," said Jake Morrill the church's minister.

He says their congregation voted 95 to 1 against the proposed marriage amendment only between a man and a woman.

"In every Tennessee county, there are families headed by same-sex couples, and this constitutional amendment would endanger these families and their children," said Morrill.

"It would take rights away from people versus granting rights to them, which is actually what the constitution is supposed to do."

Anne Gregory-Cole is part of the state-wide campaign, "vote no on one."

"To make a law against that is simply, bottom line, discrimination."

That's why folks here are celebrating the thousand feet of ribbon around this church, the colors carefully picked.

"Purple symbolically represents courage, white symbolically is the sign of marriage, and so, courageous marriage."

Morrill says to publicly display a same-sex relationship takes a lot of courage.

"I have such admiration for those Tennessee families that are living with their rights in peril today."

But people like Gregory-Cole are hoping those rights will be strengthened after November's election.

"I believe in a fair, just and compassionate Tennessee and I believe that this is the Tennessee we will see when we go to the polls."

The First Baptist Church of Knoxville and many other churches nationwide say they believe marriage is defined only between a man and a woman, ordained by God.

But with the country's high divorse rate, Dr. William Shiell says the proposed marriage amendment will not solve everything.