Pastor, union worker takes gay marriage opposition online
by Tammie Brewer, Brookhaven Daily Leader
A local pastor and union worker, striking back at the AFL-CIO’s opposition to a federal amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, has launched a Web site to further his cause.
The Rev. Kendall Boutwell, 41, who leads a Brookhaven church and also works at Georgia Pacific in Monticello, created www.unionworkersagainstgaymarriage.com to enlist support against the president and executive council of the AFL-CIO, which in March announced its opposition to a federal marriage amendment.
The AFL-CIO is an umbrella organization for nearly 60 American labor unions comprising more than 13 million dues-paying workers, said Boutwell, who is a member of United Stell Workers Local 371.
“We hereby declare that MARRIAGE is the union of one man to one woman, and we do not support legal recognition of same-sex marriage or same-sex civil unions. WE SUPPORT THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT!” an announcement on Boutwell’s Web site states.
“The AFL-CIO didn’t ask the unions what they thought,” Boutwell said, so he and other union workers at Georgia Pacific decided to make a stand against gay marriage.
“Only 1 to 2 percent of the population wants gay marriages,” Boutwell said, “not the other 98 percent.”
He said he believes at least 70 percent of union workers oppose gay marriages.
The Web site was created about two weeks ago and is already starting to get attention, Boutwell said. He said he has been contacted by Fox News, Focus on the Family and Cybercast News (cnsnews.com) about the site.
Focus on the Family already has posted on its Web site an article about Boutwell’s site. On Monday, Cybercast News plans to run a story about www.unionworkersagainstgaymarriage.com, Boutwell said.
By Friday afternoon, Boutwell’s site had had more than 400 visitors, he said. He said expects that number to jump tremendously once word about the site begins to spread.
Boutwell said he suggested the site as a way to get AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to rescind the organization’s position on gay marriage. The Web site, built by P.J. Beauvais, of Brookhaven, contains a petition that union workers may print out and mail in or sign online.
Boutwell said there also are links to other sites where non-union workers may sign a petition supporting a federal marriage amendment.
“The minority of people are ruling the country,” said Boutwell, who has handed out handwritten petitions to union workers at his plant.
“Ninety percent of the Local 371 have signed the petition,” he said of the union’s 140 members.
Boutwell said he hopes to complete gathering signatures within the next two weeks, in time for the AFL-CIO’s national convention in July.
Boutwell said he hasn’t been contacted by any outside groups opposing the Web site but said he expects some calls once word gets out. Only a few local people have said they opposed what Boutwell was doing, he said.
“People know what I stand for,” Boutwell said.
Source: Brookhaven Daily Leader