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Pro-gay banner
too big for historic church, commission says

Pro-gay banner
too big for historic church, commission says

The historic commission in Quincy, Mass., has denied a request by its "Church of the Presidents" to hang a large banner in support of same-sex marriage on the front of the church. The Quincy Historic District Commission raised objections about the banner's size and proposed location on the United First Parish Church, one of the city's most important landmarks, The Patriot Ledger of Quincy reported. The 34--by-4-foot sign reads "People of Faith for Marriage Equality."

Commission members stressed that their objections were related to the banner's technical dimensions and possible aesthetic effects on the historic facade of the church, home to the crypts of presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and their wives. There was no discussion of the sign's message or political content at Monday's meeting. "I just think that a vinyl banner like this creates a circus atmosphere that's not a good fit for a building with as much historic magnitude," said park commissioner Thomas Koch, a member of the historic district commission.

The commission voted 3-2 against a 30-day permit to hang the sign. The commission passed a second resolution suggesting that it would consider allowing a redesigned banner that is "not as intrusive" to the architecture of the 1828 building. The church's pastor, the Reverend Sheldon Bennett, described the banner as an effort to affirm a core religious principle of the church and draw people inside.

Bennett declined comment to the Ledger after the meeting, saying he needed to discuss it with the entire congregation. Paul Wilczynski, one of nine parishioners at the meeting, said, "I'd hate to leave this room tonight feeling that our ability to send a faith-based message will be impeded by the fact that we're in a historic building." (AP)

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