A small crowd gathered at the Capitol Saturday to rally against same-sex partner benefits and teaching about homosexuality in Madison schools.
Sponsored by Citizens Concerned for Our Community, the rally was organized to protest teaching local public school children that homosexual behavior is an acceptable lifestyle choice and to argue against the Madison Metropolitan School Board’s recent decision to grant spousal benefits to same-sex partners of school employees.
Activists such as Peter Sprigg Sr., director of cultural affairs for the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., and Michael Levenhagen, director of reclamation ministries in Oshkosh, spoke about such issues as “What is a family?” “born gay” and “the other side of tolerance.”
Sprigg stated his position as “pro-family” and made his views clear.
“We are against ? any sexual behavior which would undermine the uniqueness of the lifelong partnership between man and woman,” Sprigg said.
However, Sprigg stressed he was not among those who condemn homosexuals for their feelings.
“I do not hate homosexuals,” Sprigg said. “I do not believe that engaging in behavior that is unnatural, immoral and dangerous to public health, is the best thing for same-sex partners.”
Sprigg also attacked the claim that homosexuality is caused by genetic or biological factors. He said there is no convincing evidence to prove this theory.
Levenhagen followed Sprigg, attempting to explain how someone develops same-sex attraction.
He stressed patience and understanding for homosexuals. “Homosexuality is not about gender; it is about gender identity,” Levenhagen said.
He credited his unique position as a “reformed homosexual” as a way of helping him speak to homosexuals needing change in their lives.
Levenhagen and Sprigg received cheers from the crowd as they railed against the teaching of the acceptance of homosexuality.
“Young people are not aware of the breadth of choice,” Levenhagen said. “It is important not to push young people into accepting labels ? all it will do is lead to stress.”
While Levenhagen voiced his support for understanding and respect when it came to dealing with homosexuals, Sprigg was not as forgiving for what he termed the “homosexual agenda.”
Claiming that domestic violence problems among same-sex partners are a larger problem than hate crimes against homosexuals, Sprigg put forth his strong opposition to same-sex marriages and domestic partner benefits.
“Giving benefits supports homosexuality,” Sprigg said. “Your taxpayer money is supporting this. It is important [that we uphold the] ideal traditional marriage and family.”
Many people attended the rally to show their support of or defiance against the speakers’ positions.
Tensions rose for a brief moment at the end of the otherwise peaceful protest, as several in the crowd became embroiled in heated debate.
However, most who were gathered preferred to express their views in a peaceful manner.
Madison resident Veronica Freidel said she was simply present to show unity with the rally organizers.
“[I am] here to support the stand against homosexuality — not the person but the sin,” Freidel said.
Protestor Andrew Miller-Rhoads appeared at the rally for a distinctly different reason.
“I’m here because I feel that it is important to state my opposition to those that oppose domestic partner benefits,” Miller-Rhoads said. “I believe in equal pay for equal work.”