Local Residents React to Proposed Marriage Amendment

There was a big announcement today from President Bush. He said he wants lawmakers to move quickly on a Constitutional amendment that defines marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.

"The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith," the President said. "Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society."

President Bush's announcement is causing quite a bit of debate around the country. Some are very happy about the proposed amendment, others are extremely upset We talked with a couple who says an amendment would affect them, and they are not very happy. They claim the amendment would take away their civil liberties as Americans.

Kevin Clark and Henry Frost of Savannah start their morning like almost every couple, by reading the paper and discussing the day's headlines. The latest hot topic, of course, is President Bush's announcement. "I have news for President Bush," said Clark. "Gays and lesbians are the people. We are the people, and we will be heard too."

Clark and Frost own a business and have been in a committed relationship for the last seven years. Both say they want to be treated as equals, a right the Constitution gives to every US citizen. "I as a gay man and my partner want the same rights and freedom as anyone else," said Clark.

But many believe an amendment defining marriage is needed. Pastor Earnie Pirkle of the Bull Street Baptist Church agrees with the President. "Our moral, ethical standard is marriage between a man and a woman," he said. "He has firm convictions and I have firm convictions about that."

They're firm convictions Clark and Frost claim make a mockery of the US Constitution. "The Constitution is a divine creation designed to grant freedoms and liberty. Not take them away," said Clark.

The President wants Congress to act now on the gay marriage issue. But, he says it's up to individual states to decide on other legal arrangements, like civil unions, for same-sex couples.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com