Pastor, union worker takes gay marriage opposition online

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 13, 2005

A local pastor and union worker, striking back at the AFL-CIO’sopposition to a federal amendment that would define marriage as aunion between a man and a woman, has launched a Web site to furtherhis cause.

The Rev. Kendall Boutwell, 41, who leads a Brookhaven church andalso works at Georgia Pacific in Monticello, to enlist support againstthe president and executive council of the AFL-CIO, which in Marchannounced its opposition to a federal marriage amendment.

The AFL-CIO is an umbrella organization for nearly 60 Americanlabor unions comprising more than 13 million dues-paying workers,said Boutwell, who is a member of United Stell Workers Local371.

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“We hereby declare that MARRIAGE is the union of one man to onewoman, and we do not support legal recognition of same-sex marriageor same-sex civil unions. WE SUPPORT THE FEDERAL MARRIAGEAMENDMENT!” an announcement on Boutwell’s Web site states.

“The AFL-CIO didn’t ask the unions what they thought,” Boutwellsaid, so he and other union workers at Georgia Pacific decided tomake 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 opposegay marriages.

The Web site was created about two weeks ago and is alreadystarting to get attention, Boutwell said. He said he has beencontacted by Fox News, Focus on the Family and Cybercast News( about the site.

Focus on the Family already has posted on its Web site anarticle about Boutwell’s site. On Monday, Cybercast News plans torun a story about, Boutwellsaid.

By Friday afternoon, Boutwell’s site had had more than 400visitors, he said. He said expects that number to jump tremendouslyonce word about the site begins to spread.

Boutwell said he suggested the site as a way to get AFL-CIOPresident John Sweeney to rescind the organization’s position ongay marriage. The Web site, built by P.J. Beauvais, of Brookhaven,contains a petition that union workers may print out and mail in orsign online.

Boutwell said there also are links to other sites wherenon-union workers may sign a petition supporting a federal marriageamendment.

“The minority of people are ruling the country,” said Boutwell,who has handed out handwritten petitions to union workers at hisplant.

“Ninety percent of the Local 371 have signed the petition,” hesaid of the union’s 140 members.

Boutwell said he hopes to complete gathering signatures withinthe next two weeks, in time for the AFL-CIO’s national conventionin July.

Boutwell said he hasn’t been contacted by any outside groupsopposing the Web site but said he expects some calls once word getsout. Only a few local people have said they opposed what Boutwellwas doing, he said.

“People know what I stand for,” Boutwell said.