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Among those cheering in approval were Adam and Jennifer Nester, both 29, from Charleston, West Virginia. The fresh-scrubbed couple sat next to a stroller under a tree bearing a sign that read, "First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes Mommy and Daddy Pushing a Baby Carriage." Adam dandled their five-month-old daughter, Lydia, on his knee; she was wearing a Bush-Cheney '04 bib. "We don't want to have to answer why does Susie have two mommies and why does Johnny have two daddies," explained Adam as he handed the baby to his wife. "We don't want her to ask why we didn't stand up for the right thing."
We finished talking and I started to walk away, but Adam called me back. "We want it known that we're not here to bash homosexuals," he said earnestly. He nodded with approval as I wrote his words in my notebook.
They were familiar words. "We are not gay-bashing. We are doing this because we love gays and we want them to have the best of life as well," said Chuck Colson, Nixon's chief counsel in the Watergate era and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said, "We are not here for purposes of hate."
The nice woman from Pennsylvania said, "We feel very strongly that we do not hate homosexuals at all." But she, like many others I spoke to, wondered whether gay people should have the right to raise children, because "acceptance would mean approval." And she added, "We hate the act, maybe, of homosexuality." Then she smiled.
Margi Wallo, of Sterling, Virginia, was smiling too. She beckoned to me when she saw me writing in my notebook. "We don't get much publicity," she said, and thanked me for showing up. Wallo had come with her elderly mother, who was in a wheelchair. Like many in attendance, she had heard about the rally through a Christian radio station.
Wallo kept her beatific smile beaming as I asked her whether she would be in favor of civil unions or other legal arrangements in lieu of same-sex marriage. "It's all semantics," she said sweetly. "It's not the goal to have arrangements. It's the goal to destroy America." Gay people, she continued, "are just being used. It's between God and Satan."
Just then, Alan Chambers, a man who married a woman after years of living a gay "lifestyle," was at the podium. "I feel sad for him, " Wallo said, gazing at the Jumbotron where Chambers and his wife were smiling for all to see. "But he is set free. Gay people don't want to admit that he's set free." She shook her head. "There's just not open-mindedness there."