Controversial billboard along US 131, organization says it’s not anti-gay

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A billboard along a West Michigan freeway is turning a lot of heads.

The message was paid for by a South Carolina organization, opposing gay marriage.

This all comes just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on the issue.

The billboard states that being gay is a choice, and shouldn’t be compared to civil rights.

The organization that put it up said that the message is not anti-gay.

Mark Gurley is aware he’s ruffling some feathers across west Michigan. The electronic billboard popped up along US 131 near 36th Street in Grand Rapids, paid for by his organization, The Michigan Oak Initiative.

"What the billboard is not, is it's not anti gay," said Gurley.

The billboard reads, "Homosexuality is a behavior. Not a civil right." It also compares a Latino man, with another who’s face is painted with a rainbow design.

To no surprise, many people in Grand Rapids are speaking out against it.

"He is assuming that somebody else's life that he chose to be hated," said gay marriage supporter Rick Norton.

"All of the things that are happening in the world overall, really we have bigger things to fight than the LGBT community," said gay marriage supporter Monica Tomasik.

Gurley said that the billboard is directly connected to the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage in Michigan and several other states. He also said that other billboards put up by The Oak Initiative have essentially had the same message, but none of them have gotten quite this reaction.

Gurley said that he’s not condemning homosexuality, instead offering hope to "do better" and said that he doesn’t support anyone making threats against the gay community.

"Without being hateful and saying you know you are going to hell. And we've seen some of those people carrying signs around. I don't think that's a good representation of Christianity."

The electronic billboard is set to change next week, with two other designed being used for the rest of June.

"We shouldn't define civil rights around a behavioral choice because otherwise if you feel really angry at somebody this day and you want to take them out, somehow that all of a sudden your right?" asked Gurley.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue their ruling be the end of June.

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16 comments

  • Zegota

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” Edmund Burke.
    Godless men hate God, and that hatred spews out in growing hatred for God’s people who honor the true words of the “One and only True God” Today there are those who deserve the perfect hatred of a holy heart that loves the sincere words of God and loves the message of the Kingdom:

    • EndlessRepetition

      An true agnostic cannot hate the gods but we can despise the evil men get away with acting in their name. I’ve met so many good people of faith, in and out of our own church, that I cannot bear to hate religion, as much as I’m tempted. I try to remember that religions are social institutions of faith and that men have always used tools for great good and great evil.

  • RET

    The message is wrong and detracts from the research and efforts required to research homosexual orientation and identify its cause.

  • commonsense

    This billboard is correct in its message. The deviant behavior is a preference or a choice. Homosexuals will argue differently but choosing to act on a desire is still a choice.

  • Snafu

    People that think this way confuse me. I never felt like it was a choice to be heterosexual. I just grew up liking girls. To all of you who say this is a choice, what was it like to have a choice in that decision? Have you considered that you are bisexual?

  • rin

    I’ll take the word of actual gays on whether they were born that way before some douchebags personal beliefs and opinion with no actual experience

  • TJ

    His last name is “Gurley?” REALLY? Wow. Overcompensate much buddy?
    Well, I bet they’ll catch him doing bad things in a park restroom very soon. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” will usually arise amidst the insecure and hateful.

    • TJ

      By the way, if you haven’t spent a little time on Facebook God’s page you should. THAT’S where the real love, acceptance and care is happening.

  • molly

    Way to be a bunch of rude ass people! Leave gay people alone! Who gives a shit about the kind of live they live as long as the are productive people. How does it affect your life any? Your all just a bunch of haters. And God doesn’t hate gay people! Being gay isn’t also a choice, your born that way bitches!!!!

    • EndlessRepetition

      You don’t tell others the truth of their lives. You can only tell us the truth of yours. So you can choke on your filthy bigotry and spend the rest of your life lamenting the SCOTUS decision.