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Gay Marriage Debate Turns Violent

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Gay Marriage Debate Turns Violent

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

September 27, 2006 - 7:00 pm ET

(Wauwatosa, Wisconsin) Police Wednesday were examining video tape of a discussion on a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage that turned into a brawl Tuesday night.

The issue of same-sex marriage and the amendment are the focus of formal debates and informal discussions at barber shops and over dinner tables throughout the state.

One discussion, at a restaurant in Wauwatsa, a town of about 47,000 near Milwaukee, the conversation at one table turned into a fight.

Videotape shows a man in a suit pushing one opponent of the amendment and then punching another. The tape shows the man walking out and then returning and throwing ketchup bottles and other objects.

One of the injured, Michael Lopez, needed five stitches to close a wound, WISC television reported. Lopez said he believe the man's actions may have constituted a hate crime.

"That's what it was," Lopez told WISC. "It was a very hateful circumstance. Obviously, the guy had a problem with gay issues, gay marriage."

Police said that they are hoping that video enhancement will give them a clearer image of the man's face. If he is identified he will be charged with assault a police spokesperson said.

The proposed constitutional amendment would not only ban same-sex marriage but also civil unions and possibly be used to deny partner benefits.

Earlier this month 17 former presidents of the Wisconsin Bar Association announced their opposition to the proposed amendment because of its far reaching consequences. (story)

In June four former Wisconsin governors - three Democrats and one Republican - issued an open call to reject the proposed amendment. (story) And last month Wisconsin's biggest unions announced their opposition. (story)

A public poll taken in July showed that voters were about equally divided on the amendment with 49 percent supporting the it and 48 percent opposed. (story)

©365Gay.com 2006

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