Defining Marriage: Local Reaction To Supreme Court Hearings

By: Sandra Osborne Email
By: Sandra Osborne Email

All eyes are on Washington this week as U.S. Supreme Court justices hear arguments regarding same sex marriage.
Their decision could impact Florida's ban on gay marriage.
Locally, both sides are passionate about the issue.

Rebecca Montez, who works in Panama City Beach, says she's been waiting for years for the federal courts to re-consider same-sex marriage.

"That would give us the right to not only have our marriages recognized by the federal government, but to the same things that straight couples take for granted like being able to file taxes together and hospital visitation rights," said Montez.

Local pastor Dr. Gregory George of Panama City Beach says he believes in the current federal definition of marriage.

"My position is what I think is a biblical position and it's also a christian position, well established in the text, that marriage is between one man and one woman," said George.

The latest polls show the nation is split nearly 50-50 on the issue.

Tuesday the Supreme Court heard arguments over California's Proposition Eight, which basically limits marriage to heterosexual couples.

Wednesday, the court will hear arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are married under state law.

"The Defense of Marriage Act, in my opinion, is unconstitutional," said Montez.

"I don't have an issue to their rights on whether they get insurance, but as far as changing the definition of marriage and the structure of the family, I'd be opposed to that," said the local pastor.

The Supreme Court isn't expected to make a decision on the two cases until June.

Tuesday night, PFLAG or “Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays'' will be staging a vigil at the Panama City Federal Courthouse in support of same-sex marriage.
That vigil begins at 6:30.


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