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A church names names of gay-marriage foes

A Jacksonville church published the names of Florida residents who signed a petition backing the ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage.


aalter@MiamiHerald.com

A Florida church launched a campaign this week to identify supporters of a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage by publishing the names and addresses of 400,000 Florida residents in 60 counties.

The Internet campaign by Christ Church of Peace, a nondenominational church in Jacksonville, has been denounced by groups that support a state ballot initiative that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Gary Debusk, pastor of Christ Church of Peace, said the church began the ''Know Thy Neighbor'' effort Monday to encourage dialogue and prevent voter-signature fraud. As the head of a congregation that supports same-sex marriage, Debusk said he also wanted to add a new perspective to a debate that he said has been dominated largely by religious conservatives. ''It's time for another voice that is Christian to be heard,'' he said.

The website, knowthy neighbor.org/florida, is linked to the church's home page and contains a searchable database of names. The names on such petitions are part of the public record, according to the Florida Department of State.

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