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PDittie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 05:39 PM
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1. 16 in Houston
About 16 gay couples who applied for marriage licenses Friday at the Harris County clerk's office were turned away because the state does not allow same-sex marriages.

* * *

About 50 gay people and supporters gathered outside the Harris County office building at 1001 Preston on the cold and cloudy afternoon before the couples went inside to request licenses.

Shirley Holmes, who carried a sign reading "Honor Gay Marriage," said she was there to support her son.

"Our gay children deserve equal rights," Holmes said.

A few feet away, about seven men and women protested the demonstration, with some shouting insults.

"I've got two dogs that want to get married," yelled one man. "Can you get a marriage license for dogs?"

"Gay? Got AIDS Yet?" read a sign carried by a man who would not give his name.

"Freedom of speech doesn't require identification," he said.

A man identifying himself as "Captain Bijou" explained why several of the anti-gay demonstrators were wearing protective masks: "We're in an AIDS zone."

He said he was there because of his religious beliefs and his desire to "save our country from all that's happening ... all the indecencies our country is accepting."

Aubrey Vaughan, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, carried a sign that said "Sodomites Destroy the Family" and was passing out several pages titled "What Does the Bible Teach about Homosexuality?"

Marilyn Meeker-Williams, pastor of Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, told the gay couples, "God's blessing is with you."

Although the Methodist Church does not permit same-sex marriages, she said, "a lot of us are working hard to change that."

Until she can perform such marriages, she said, she is not performing any marriages. "We haven't had a wedding in our church in years," she said.
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