Will gay-marriage ban fly in Eagle County? | VailDaily.com

Will gay-marriage ban fly in Eagle County?

Nicole Frey

EAGLE COUNTY- If Colorado bans gay marriage, Pazzo’s employee Kate Spangler vows to leave the state, and she’s taking her friends Erin Coleman and Heather Johnson with her. And if a coalition of religious and conservative groups get their way, the Rockies will soon be bidding adieu to the three ladies. The groups are calling for a vote in November to ban gay marriage in Colorado’s constitution by adding the phrase, “only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state.”Although gay marriage is already forbidden by a Colorado statute, an amendment to the constitution would strengthen the ban and make it harder to ever overturn, explained Teak Simonton, the Eagle County clerk and recorder.

Supporters of the ban will first have to collect 68,000 signatures for the question to be placed on the ballot.”I think it’s a bunch of baloney,” said Coleman, who identifies herself as bisexual. “Those who are against gay marriage aren’t gay. This won’t affect them, but it will affect those who are gay.”But conservative groups like Focus on the Family, Coloradans for Marriage and the Catholic Church are defending their position, saying marriage between a man and a woman is rooted in centuries of tradition and better for children.

“Saying that marriage could be between two people of the same sex distorts the truth of what marriage is,” said Father Bob Kinkel of St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Edwards. “Marriage is a covenant … with the possibility of creating a family, so with a same sex couple, we have a problem there.”But Rabbi Jack Gabriel of the B’Nai Vail Congregation said gay couples are just as capable of creating healthy families as strait couples. His faith in gay parents is so strong, he has even sired children for a lesbian couple.Along with parenting, Gabriel supports homosexual’s right to marry, he said.

“I think that the whole purpose of marriage is to create sanctity between two partners, to say, ‘I love you and I’m throwing in my lot with you,'” said Gabriel, part of the Jewish Renewal movement, a liberal movement which he estimated makes up about one percent of the Jewish population. “Why does that just have to be a man and a woman?” he said. Although Vail Valley resident Ivan Nyberg said he thinks one man and one woman likely make better parents, he agreed with Gabriel in saying the government should keep out of the matter.”I’m often appalled by the U.S. government having the nerve to creep into this relationship, which is sacred,” Gabriel said. “I think people getting in the way of other people’s relationships stems from moral weakness and fear. It’s a comment of their own darkness.”

Steven Simons in Minturn likened the gay rights movement to the civil rights movement.”They’ve got just about everything they asked for already,” he said, adding that he was uncertain about how he would vote should the ban make the ballot.But even as Kinkel opposes gay marriage, he said he supports homosexuals forming a civil union, including acting as a beneficiary if one of the couple dies.

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“I think that people would by and large agree there should be some protection under the law, but marriage isn’t part of that,” he said. But to Johnson, marriage is a right that should be offered to everyone, notwithstanding sexual orientation. “It’s just about equal rights,” Johnson said. “It shouldn’t matter if you’re gay or strait. It should be a matter of choice.”

Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or nfrey@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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