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Gay-marriage opponent to speak

From The Columbian

Gay-marriage opponent to speak

Sunday, September 12, 2004
KELLY ADAMS Columbian staff writer

Former football-star-turned-traditional-values advocate Jeff Kemp will be the featured speaker Tuesday at the Mayor's Annual Prayer Breakfast.

Kemp spent more than a decade in the NFL and now heads Families Northwest, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting traditional marriage and families. The main goal is the healthiest possible setting for children, he said. That starts with strong marriages.

"Children deserve moms and dads," Kemp said in a phone interview from his Bellevue office Friday.

He has been frequently quoted in opposition to same-sex marriage, including last week when a Thurston County Superior Court judge struck down Washington's ban on gay marriage. Broadening the definition of marriage to include same sex couples threatens the sanctity of the institution, he said.

He further explained his position:

"It is not about sexual orientation at all. Everyone deserves respect and dignity. However, the one class of people who are being ignored in this legal debate is children. Decades of research leave no doubt that children do best when they are raised by a mother and a father."

Kemp stressed that Families Northwest works to support healthy relationships, not abusive situations.

"It's not just promoting marriage for marriage's sake," he said. "Violence and abuse have no place in relationships."

At Tuesday's event, Kemp's speech will focus on achieving goals.

That starts with a careful identification of goals and rejecting standards that have been imposed by society. Kemp suggests focusing on long-term achievement that makes positive changes for generations, not just instant gratification.

He also plans to talk about Families Northwest's mission to create better families through stronger marriages. Part of that mission includes marriage preparation classes for engaged couples, mainly offered through churches.

Kemp has been married to his wife, Stacy, for 21 years. They have four sons and live in Redmond.

Kemp will be joined at the breakfast by Rebecca Harder, a Battle Ground business owner and winner of the Mrs. Washington title in the National United Nations pageant. She was the fourth runner-up in the national competition. She will be the testimonial speaker at the breakfast.

All of Clark County's mayors have been invited. The breakfast is open to the public.

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