Residents in Collingswood, N.J., discuss varied views on gay marriage

    A bill that would legalize same-sex unions cleared a senate committee last night. Collingswood, New Jersey is a diverse community but on the issue of gay marriage there remains a deep divide.

    The New Jersey Senate plans to take up the controversial issue of gay marriage on Thursday. A bill that would legalize same-sex unions cleared a senate committee last night. Collingswood, New Jersey is a diverse community but on the issue of gay marriage there remains a deep divide.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091208lfmarriage.mp3]

    The buildings on Haddon Avenue are decorated with holiday signs, snowflakes, lights, and bows. The main street’s lined with lots of retail options – there’s a Candy Shoppe, a Bakery, a Hardware store, and no shortage of Italian restaurants.

    Waiting for his shift at a coffee shop to start, Ed Burke talks about why he supports the legislation.

    Haddonfield, N.J. resident Ed Burke supports gay marriage
    Haddonfield, N.J. resident Ed Burke supports gay marriage.

    Burke: I think it’s kind of amazing that it took this long – I’ve always thought of New Jersey as a bit more progressive in terms of things like these. Collingswood this is a spot that has a heavy demographic of shops that are owned and that are open to gays.

    Many other people out for lunch or a walk, agree with Burke.

    Down the street, retired electrician Tom Gravinese is walking his dog T.G. He says he supports allowing gay marriage.

    Gravinese: I got a couple of friends who’s probably be a little bit pretty antsy about it. Because that’s the way they are. They just believe T.G. come here – That a man and a woman is the way it should be.

    Oaklyn, N.J. resident Tom Gravinese
    Oaklyn, N.J. resident Tom Gravinese.

    Woods: I think that anyone that love each other should be able to get married if they want.

    That’s Marie Woods. Despite slightly chilly weather, she’s taking her 17 month old son Mark and her nephew for a walk in a stroller.

    She says if her son grew up and told her he was gay…

    Woods: I would be upset cause I wouldn’t have any grandchildren but if that’s what he is, then that’s what he is.

    A few blocks away, Paul McVeigh is heading to church from the retirement community he lives in around the corner.

    McVeigh: I think it’s immoral and it’s against all laws of nature and God. I do not believe in that at all.

    Collingswood, N.J. resident Paul McVeigh opposes gay marriage.
    Collingswood, N.J. resident Paul McVeigh opposes gay marriage.

    Mc Veigh’s sentiments are echoed by Rita Carter.

    Carter: I think a marriage is between a man and a woman. Also, marriage is for reproducing.

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