Proponents of gay marriage protest Jefferson County Board's deci - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Proponents of gay marriage protest Jefferson County Board's decision

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On Monday night dozens of people in support of gay marriages in Jefferson County showed their displeasure with the county board's decision to not recognize same sex marriages. On Monday night dozens of people in support of gay marriages in Jefferson County showed their displeasure with the county board's decision to not recognize same sex marriages.
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MT VERNON, IL (KFVS) - A resolution voted upon by the Jefferson County Board in June to define marriage as only between a man and a woman has many people upset.

On Monday night dozens of people in support of gay marriages in Jefferson County showed their displeasure with the county board's decision to not recognize same sex marriages.

"I personally appreciate the traditionalism that everybody's standing behind," said Amanda Duncan. "However, that puts us a step behind with everybody else in these growing times. We'd like to see Mt. Vernon grow as a community. And we'd like to see new businesses come in. We're afraid this message is really sending a negative vibe to people out there."

There was only one 'no vote' and one county board member who abstained from voting on the resolution.

"Unfortunately whether or not it's intentional or not I believe that this was done to hurt people," said Jeremy Hall the only Jefferson County Board Member to vote against the resolution. "I'm not saying it was done intentionally. I think as it was worded it read with pure hatred. And I didn't like that whatsoever. That made me very uncomfortable."

It's making many of the same sex couples living in Jefferson County uncomfortable and upset with the county board.

"I've been in my partnership for 26 years, and it feels like a kick in the gut," said Paul Oakley. "When the people elected to represent my county think it's worthy of their time to say that my relationship is not valid, not as important, not as worthy as traditional marriages."

The measure was proposed to the county board by vice chairman Wayne Hails.

"The vast majority of the people I represent believe that marriage is between a man and a woman," said Hails. "I don't think this is going to detour tourism of development in the county. Because the vast majority of tourists, and the vast majority of business people have the same beliefs I do."

For now the county board says they have no plans to rescind their vote and decision to not recognize gay marriages in the county.

"The main thing is it represents this county as being inhospitable, as being discriminatory, as being against rather then for people," said Oakley. "It's a negative move."

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