Sentinel: Anti-gay marriage speaker hurting his own cause

From Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell's blog:

If I had to make a prediction, the folks pushing for a gay-marriage ban will either change their techniques or simply stop trying to make their case in person before this campaign is over — because their effort to do so today in Orlando fell pretty darn flat.

The affair was a lunch debate at Tiger Bay of Orlando between John Stemberger, who's leading the "marriage protection amendment," and Nadine Smith with Fairness for All Families, which is opposing the ban.

Stemberger can be personable and affable. But in today's performance, he sounded more angry and ineffective. Rather than staying focused on the amendment he's championing, he called Smith's arguments "pathetic." He tried to scare the crowd with the potential of gay-friendly decisions by "activist judges" and "Governor Live-and-let-live" (his name for Charlie Crist). And when looking for an anecdote of a gay person, Stemberger threw out comments from Rosie O'Donnell as a rationale for why Floridians should rally behind him.

Smith, on the other hand, kept her cool and focused on two things: 1) that gay marriage is already illegal in this state. ("The day before this election, same sex couples can't marry," she said. "The day after this election, same sex couples can't marry.) 2) And the fact that this amendment could actually take away rights from unmarried couples (straight and gay) when it comes to things like healthcare and end-of-life decisions. ("You do not protect your marriage in any way by taking away other people's rights.")

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