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HomeCommentaryClergy, lay people counter Santorum visit with Rally for Love demonstration

Clergy, lay people counter Santorum visit with Rally for Love demonstration

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Member’s of Spokane’s progressive faith community gathered outside Double Tree Hotel on Tuesday to show their support for Referendum 74, while Rick Santorum spoke against gay marriage at a ticketed lunch inside.

About 15 clergy and 40 lay people came together to demonstrate, through Rally For Love, that not all people of faith agree with Santorum’s views on family and marriage.

“We need to demonstrate what we believe, and that is an important voice for this community,” said the Rev. Paul Rodkey, of Bethany Presbyterian Church. “I’m here standing before you for faith and freedom…freedom that is assumed in this nation, yet not really known to some people. To many in this land we are still struggling for freedom for all of God’s children.”

Rev. Paul Rodkey, of Bethany Presbyterian Church, speaks in favor of Referendum 74
Rev. Paul Rodkey, of Bethany Presbyterian Church, speaks in favor of Referendum 74

He said he doesn’t know freedom because he isn’t legally allowed to marry same-sex couples. Rodkey said same-sex marriage is about equal rights and urged attendees to vote to approve the legislation next month.

Rev. Happy Watkins, of New Hope Baptist Church, said if Martin Luther King Jr. were still alive, he too would be fighting for the freedom to marry.

“We have mastered the air, conquered the sea…but we are not wise enough to live on this earth without war and without hate,” he said. “We as a community must take a stand, not just in moments of comforts and conveniences, but in the moments of challenges and controversies.”

He said anyone who pays taxes should have the right to be married to the person they love, regardless of gender.

“We want to work to make a difference, until making a difference doesn’t make a difference no more,” Watkins said.

C.J. Gibble, a field organizer for Washington United for Marriage, said the Preserve Marriage Washington ads will be starting soon and encouraged those in attendance to counter PMW’s ad campaign by volunteering to participate in Approve Referendum 74 phone banks.

CJ Gibble, of Washington United for Marriage, encourages people to volunteer with local phone banks.
CJ Gibble, of Washington United for Marriage, encourages people to volunteer with local phone banks.

“We’re almost there, but we need to make sure we get there,” she said.

City Councilman Jon Snyder helped organize the rally because he said residents need to know there are members of the faith community who support same-sex marriage.

“I think sometimes there’s a feeling that this is a Westside issue, but this issue effects people who have spent their entire lives in Spokane and sometimes we need to be reminded of that,” he said.

Santorum and members of the Family Policy Institute of Washington declined to be interviewed.

http://www.facebook.com/SpokaneFAVSMore photos are available on our Facebook page.

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Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of FāVS.News, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.

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Eric Blauer
Eric Blauer
11 years ago

I wanted to express my support to my pastoral collegues for your boldness in publicly standing within and without various groups in the name of Christ today. I admire your courage to stand against discrimination however it chooses to manifest in our community.

I have spent many months wrestling with referendum 74 and engaged, dialogued and debated many points involved. This issue isn’t one that evangelicals seem to want to discuss and many people, pastors included, find themselves with questions and unsatisfied with answer typically given. 

For me the issue is more of a constitutional matter and as a conservative leaning libertarian, I bristle at legalities that discriminate or dictate instead of promote and provide freedom.

I stand with you, if not hesitantly, but honestly, praying, Lord I believe, help my unbelief.

eric Blauer
eric Blauer
11 years ago

Any luck or leads on getting info on what was said and done inside the Santorum meeting?

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
11 years ago

He didn’t let any media in at all and snuck out the back of the hotel. But he came specifically to speak against Ref. 74, so I imagine it was his usual message that marriage is between one man and one woman according to the Bible…

eric Blauer
eric Blauer
11 years ago

That blows.

I know many people still in the undecided group in the issue and are wanting to hear debate and dialouge and this was a perfect opportuntiy for that side to address issues, speak out and engage the public.

I feel it was a missed opportuntiy.
What do they have to hide?
If you believe your postion is right, than speak up, don’t shut and lock the doors and turn off the microphones and cameras.
It’s strange to me.

Sam Fletcher
Sam Fletcher
11 years ago

With Santorum’s recent comments that “smart people will never be on our side”, I think the hardcore evangelical crowd is finally feeling ashamed of the positions they are taking, and how much mockery, criticism, rebuke, and so on they are getting from huge parts of America. I don’t give the movement too much longer in this country.

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
11 years ago
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