Gay Sera, Sera
Dorchester County Council rejects anti-gay proposalBY JOHN VERNELSON
The decision came about two weeks after Greenville's council voted to reaffirm the anti-gay resolution it passed in May, a stand which prompted the Olympic committee to cancel the torch run through Greenville County.
Promoted to religious conservatives by the American Family Association, the resolution calls for government to rally behind its claim that homosexuality spreads sin and disease.
"We represent all the people who live in the county," Council Chairperson Richard Rosebrock said after the meeting. "As a Christian, I can hate the sin but not the sinner. As a member of county government, I don't want to spread animosity and hatred by segregating the community.
"County government has too many other things to do than getting involved in an uproar over something over which we have no jurisdiction," he said.
Rosebrock limited resolution speakers to two, one from each side of the issue. Susan Payne of Summerville, who petitioned council to endorse the resolution, spoke in favor; Marcy Walsh, also of Summerville, spoke against it.
Payne made references to her Christian beliefs and South Carolina's anti-sodomy law, and remarks about "traditional values, the importance of preserving the American family," and AIDS.
She said involvement of "normal" people and government was the only way to stop the threat posed by gays and lesbians to "traditional American standards and values."
In the lobby before the meeting, Payne passed out a pamphlet titled "Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do" and white ribbons she said symbolize virtue and purity.
Payne poked fun at "gentlemen" whorefused to wear the ribbons. She told others she had "prayed over" whether to petition council to adopt the resolution. "I was afraid," she was overheard to say, "but after I prayed, I knew what I had to do."
Payne also knew what to do to make her presentation more palatable to council, because she had been coached. "They told me to talk about disease, and not say too much about the Bible and religion," she said to supporters in the lobby.
After the meeting, Payne would not say who "they" are, and seemed surprised to learn the state anti-sodomy law covers everybody in South Carolina, making it illegal for straight men and women in "traditional marriages" to have oral sex.
Accompanied by her husband, Walsh said she recognizes some people hold sincere religious convictions that oppose homosexuality. "Will you recognize that I hold sincere religious convictions that do not condemn homosexuality?" she asked, adding that it is not the role of county council to legislate one view over another.
"We are all human beings deserving of love, understanding and respect," she said. "Holding certain people among us up to ridicule and prejudicial discrimination goes against all the principles on which this country was founded: liberty and justice for all."