Kentucky church launches anti-gay marriage ad campaign

Kentucky's largest church is launching an advertising campaign proclaiming the union of one man and one woman as "God's plan for marriage." The ads come as Kentucky voters prepare to decide on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. Southeast Christian Church in Jefferson County plans to run display ads in newspapers, on billboards, and on the sides of buses. It also is starting to run commercials on radio and television stations and at movie theaters. "Our goal is to represent the biblical truth of marriage to our community that affirms marriage at a time when the traditional definition of marriage is under attack," said Bob Russell, the church's senior minister.

The ads do not mention the upcoming constitutional vote, which would ban civil unions and bolster state law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. However, Russell said, "we hope that the people of Kentucky will vote overwhelmingly in favor of protecting marriage." He said the church plans to continue the ad campaign beyond the election season as part of a larger effort to respond to high divorce rates and other family problems. Russell said the campaign cost about $150,000.

A spokeswoman for the group NO on the Amendment said voters should reject the proposal to change the constitution. The Reverend Brenda Bartella Peterson said the Bible speaks of the "radical equality of all God's children," which she said should extend to gays and lesbians. Peterson said her group is relying on one-on-one campaigning by volunteers rather than advertising campaigns.

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