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Religious Tolerance logo


2004 events, June-01 to July-10

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bullet"The ultimate outcome of our coming national culture war over gay marriage will either be legal gay marriage throughout the United States, or passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment." American Family Association. 1

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In this essay, and others, "SSM" means "same-sex marriage."

Events prior to 2004-JUN are discussed in a separate essay.

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FMA events, starting in 2004-JUN:

bullet2004-JUN-16: Southern Baptist Convention passes pro-FMA motion: The Family Research Council noted that the Southern Baptist Convention overwhelmingly passed a strong resolution calling on Congress to pass the FMA. 2
bullet2004-JUN-17: Senate to vote on amendment: Senate Majority leader Bill Frist (R-TN) told the Family Research Council that the senate will vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment during the week of 2004-JUL-12. Sixty votes will be needed to choke off debate and prevent a filibuster. Sixty-seven affirmative votes will be needed to pass the amendment. 2
bullet2004-JUN-18: Revised amendment scheduled for vote in Senate: Senators John Cornyn of (R-TX), Wayne Allard (R-CO), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) held a news conference on JUN-18 to announce that the FMA was scheduled for debate in the Senate during the week of July 12. Answering criticism that the vote is politically motivated, Cornyn said: "We didn't raise this issue. This issue was thrust upon us by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. It was thrust on us by the civil disobedience that occurred in San Francisco and all the litigation that's occurring around the country.....We didn't pick the timing. It's been thrust upon us." The proposed amendment must clear two hurdles.
bulletIt first may need to receive at least 60 votes in order to terminate debate. Stewart said: "I think it will be close, and hopefully we'll get 60 [votes for closure of debate]. Hopefully people won't use an excuse to say that they want to debate more. We've had plenty of debate on this. We've had six hearings on marriage in the Senate alone."
bulletAs mentioned above, the amendment requires 67 votes to pass the Senate.

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, issued a statement, saying: "We look forward to seeing which senators will step up to the plate and take a stand in defense of marriage next month. We have heard from many senators who have declined to co-sponsor the FMA but have privately said they will still vote for it. It will be interesting to see if they keep their word. This amendment is the only tool the American people have to ensure that the definition of marriage remains one man and one woman." 3

bullet2004-JUN-20: Massive outcry against SSM doesn't materialize: Conservative Christian leaders expected a massive outcry against the practice. However, as of 2004-JUN, it has not materialized.

In 2004-JUN, the Washington Post wrote that: "Evangelical leaders had predicted that a chorus of righteous anger would rise up out of churches from coast to coast and overwhelm Congress with letters, e-mails and phone calls in support of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But that has not happened." 4 Religious and social conservatives appear to be accepting SSM in their stride and expressing little interest in a federal constitutional amendment. More details.

bullet2004-JUN-21: The Barna Group releases poll on the FMA: The Group released a random poll taken in late 2004-MAY among 1,618 American adults. The margin of error is within 2.9 percentage points. Some of their findings were:
bullet37% of voting-age subject had not heard of the FMA.
bullet46% favored the amendment; 35% strongly, and 11% moderately
bullet44% opposed it; 31% strongly, and 13% moderately.
bullet10% had no opinion. 5
bullet2004-JUN-22: Conflict among Republicans: Two senior Republicans with opposing views on the FMA are scheduled to debate their positions before the Senate Judiciary Committee:
bulletRepublican and former Representative Bob Barr, who once represented Georgia, is arguing against the FMA. He feels that the amendment unnecessarily tramples states' rights. He was the author of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. He said: "If we begin to treat the Constitution as our personal sandbox, in which to build and destroy castles as we please, we risk diluting the grandeur of having a Constitution in the first place."
bulletGovernor Mitt Romney (R-MA) will argue in favor of the FMA making the case that a constitutional amendment is the only way in which SSM can be prevented. He reported that same-sex couples from at least 46 states have received marriage licenses in Massachusetts and that cases are pending in 11 states which challenge marriage laws that restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples. He suggests that each child has the right to a mother and father, and that marriage is primarily for the "nurturing of children."  Many states are in the same position as Massachusetts in that they have marriage regulations and legislation which imply opposite-sex marriage. However, their state constitutions call for equal treatment of all citizens, without discrimination. A senior court does not have to be particularly radical to rule that the state constitution overrules the same state's regulations and laws, thus legalizing SSM. 6,7
bullet2004-JUN-22: Call to defeat amendment: The America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called on the Senators to reject the amendment. Christopher E. Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel, said: "....Americans have more important issues to worry about than whether gay and lesbian couples can marry in Massachusetts. Denying marriage rights to same-sex couples fails our national commitment to ending discrimination. Indeed, this highly charged constitutional proposal reeks of election year political maneuvering and anti-gay rhetoric....Discrimination in any form -- especially by Congress -- is wrong, and should be rejected....Our Constitution is not a document that should be used to score political points, and most certainly should not be amended to render a whole population of Americans as second-class citizens. The 'pro-family' supporters of the measure are more interested in vilifying gay and lesbian Americans then they are about helping families. No American family should be on the receiving end of legally sanctioned discrimination." 6

This essay continues below

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bullet2004-JUN-24: Pro-amendment petition: The American Family Association (AFA) is attempting to obtain two million signatures on a petition to Senators. They plan to sort them by state and send them to the individual senators. As of 2004-JUN-24, they have obtained nearly 1,412,284 signatures. The petition states: "Activist liberal judges are intent on destroying the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman. I urge you to pass the federal marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman only. This is a defining moment in history. It is time for members of Congress to take a stand for traditional marriage." In the "purpose of the petition" section of their web site, they state that: "The God-ordained institution of marriage is under attack in courts across the nation, and your help is needed to save it before the one man-one woman definition of marriage is completely and radically redefined. American Family Association believes the best hope of saving marriage from redefinition is a constitutional amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. A federal marriage amendment, supported by members of both political parties, will soon be introduced in Congress. An amendment such as this protects marriage from redefinition by either state legislatures or an activist liberal judge. A federal marriage amendment would stop activist judges from giving legal benefits of marriage to same-sex couples." 8
bullet2004-JUN-25: Iowa group discusses FMA vote: The Iowa Family Policy Center announced that the vote on the FMA will be held on JUL-15. They indicate that as things now stand, the FMA will fail. Only 48 senators are willing to vote for the Amendment. Sixty-seven are needed to pass. 9
bullet2004-JUN: Human Rights Campaign created online petition: The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) works for equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals. They have petition on their web site that opposes the FMA. They will send it on your behalf to your representative and senator in Washington. It says:

"To use the Constitution to discriminate against any group of people is shameful. It is neither compassionate nor conservative. It is a radical position that would insert discrimination into the document that has guaranteed and expanded liberty and equality for over 200 years.

The power to regulate marriage and the granting of civil marriage licenses is a power that has historically been reserved to the states. A constitutional amendment to prohibit governmental recognition of same-sex relationships would take this power away from states. Further, the U.S. Constitution should never be amended to limit the rights of a group of people.

The amendment would do much more than define marriage. Leading legal scholars agree that the amendment could forever invalidate civil unions or other legal protections for same-sex couples -- such as the right to visit a partner in the hospital or to receive partner health benefits -- even if state legislatures passed them and voters approved them.

The rights and responsibilities of marriage, other forms of relationship recognition, and basic civil rights protections are essential components that make all families, including families headed by same-sex couples, safer and more secure. Marriage licenses, which are granted by the state, and religious marriage, are two separate things. Religious institutions will never be forced to bless relationships with which they disagree, just as today religious institutions can refuse to marry couples of different faiths or individuals who have been divorced.

Please oppose any attempt to build discrimination into the very document that should protect everyone and please oppose any other legislation designed to prohibit civil, secular recognition of same-sex relationships. I look forward to hearing from you on this extremely important issue.
" 1
bullet2004-JUN-26: Pro-polygamy group predicts FMA will fail: Pro-Polygamy.com issued a news release which predicts the failure of the FMA. 11 They note that many conservative Christian leaders have indicated surprise that they are losing the debate:
bulletOn FEB-18, Gary Bower issued a press release titled "Why we always lose." 12 He notes that the definition of marriage in the U.S. is well on the way to being changed. He blames on the "....timidity of our own leaders."
bulletOn MAY-16, David Kirpatrick wrote an article for the New York Times, reporting that grass roots conservatives have shown a "tepid response."
bulletLouis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition was quoted as saying: "I don't see any traction. The calls aren't coming in, and I am not sure why."
bulletMatt Daniels of the Alliance for Marriage was quoted as saying: "Our side is basically asleep right now."
bulletRichard Lessner, of the American Conservative Union and formerly of the Family Research Council said: "They have staked so much on it, they have put all these eggs in one basket and now they 'are going to lose." 13
bulletOn MAY-17, Massachusetts began issuing SSM licenses; there was little negative response by the public.
bulletOn MAY-19, Cal Thomas, referring to SSM in general, said that " 'Pro-family' groups have given it their best shot, but this debate is over." 14
bulletOn JUN-20, Alan Cooperman wrote an article for the Washington Post wrote which said, in part: "Evangelical leaders had predicted that a chorus of righteous anger would rise up out of churches from coast to coast and overwhelm Congress with letters, e-mails and phone calls in support of a constitutional amendment... But that has not happened."
bulletThat article quoted Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council as saying: "Standing on Capitol Hill listening, you don't hear anything." 15
bulletOn JUN-24, James Dobson of Focus on the Family wrote: "...the biggest shock of all may be that this development has prompted little more than a minor outcry from most Americans....this will remain an uphill battle unless the church as a whole rallies together." 4
bullet2004-JUL-09: Debate began in the Senate on the FMA: Some comments reported in the media:
bulletSen. Sam Brownback, (R-KS), one of the bill's 16 co-sponsors, said: "Some would define this as the ultimate culture battle."
bulletSen. Barbara Boxer, (D-CA) "It's all about politics, folks. Let's face it. We're going to go on to gay marriage before the Democratic convention so some people can cast a vote that might hurt them in their election. Shame on us."
bulletSen. Lincoln Chafee, (R-RI) said: "Nuts. To be seen as the party that's coming between two people that love each other doing what they want to do....to me that's going to be seen as a liability, politically." 18
bullet2004-JUL-09: Over a million petitions favoring FMA delivered to Congress: Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) joined with representatives from the Family Research Council and other groups who oppose marriage for same-sex committed couples. They delivered 1.4 million petitions to Congress in support of the FMA. Another 1.1 million are expected to be delivered on JUL-13. They number of petitions will total over 1% of the adults in the U.S. -- a very large number for a petition. 16 Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said: "With activist federal judges, some no doubt waiting for the opportunity to redefine marriage for the entire country, we must have an amendment to the U.S. Constitution and we are here today with yet another clear example of the overwhelming public support for an amendment to protect marriage." 19
bullet2004-JUL-09: Polygamy group opposes FMA: Pro-Polygamy.com criticizes conservative Christians for their support of the FMA. Their news release states in part: "Truthfully, 'Protect Marriage Sunday' must more accurately be called, 'Protect Government Marriage Sunday.'  The Federal Marriage Amendment does not 'protect' true Godly marriage according to the Bible.  Rather, it is a turning to the false god of big socialist government to 'protect' an unconstitutional concept called 'government marriage,' and uses that false god to enforce such Marxist social engineering.

The proposed amendment is completely unbiblical.

There is not one example in the Bible of anyone ever being married 'by government.'  So, the amendment seeks to 'protect' something which never happened in the Bible.

The amendment de-legitimizes the Biblical marriages of polygamous Moses, Abraham, Israel, David, and the dozens of other Biblical heroes who married more than one wife -- polygamy.  So, undermining those heroes undermines the credibility of the Bible itself.

The amendment chooses a false god instead of the God of the Bible.  Scripturally, God never once used the false god of big socialist government to define or 'protect' any doctrine.  God alone defined marriage, not the false god of big socialist government.  So, the amendment promotes outright idolatry.
" 17
bullet2004-JUL-10: President Bush supports the FMA: President Bush reiterated his support for the FMA in his Saturday radio address. He said: "For ages, in every culture, human beings have understood that traditional marriage is critical to the well-being of families....And because families pass along values and shape character, traditional marriage is also critical to the health of society. Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of traditional marriage will undermine the family structure." For a description of the one traditional family structure and seven non-traditional structures mentioned in the Bible, see mar_bibl.htm 19

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Subsequent events are discussed in a separate essay.

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References used:

  1. "Marriage Protection Week: More information," American Family Association, at: http://www.marriageprotectionweek.com/
  2. "Southern Baptists Take Strong Stand on FMA, U.S. Senate is Next," Family Research Council, Washington Update, 2004-JUN-16.
  3. Michael Foust, "Senate plans mid-July vote on Federal Marriage Amendment," Baptist Press, 2004-JUN-21, at: http://www.bpnews.net.
  4. James Dobson, "Why we must back the Federal Marriage Amendment," Florida Baptist Witness, 2004-JUN-2, at: http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/
  5. "Public Divided On Marriage Amendment," The Barna Group, 2004-JUN-21, at: http://www.barna.org/
  6. "ACLU Renews Call to Keep Discrimination Out of Constitution; Points to Lack of Cohesion in Republican Party on Divisive Issue,"  ACLU, 2004-JUN-22, at: http://nfp.arrivenet.com
  7. "Gov. Romney testifies for F.M.A. in D.C.," Massachusetts Family Institute, E-alert, 2004-JUN-25.
  8. The "NoGayMarriage.com" web site is at: http://www.nogaymarriage.com/
  9. "Please pray for marriage," Iowa Family Policy Center, 2004-JUN-25, news release.
  10. "Take Action," Human Rights Campaign, at: http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/
  11. "Conservative Silence on Marriage Amendment, One Year after 'Lawrence'," Pro_polygamy.comô, at: http://www.pro-polygamy.com/
  12. Gary Bauer, "Why we always lose," Campaign for Working Families, 2004-FEB-20, at: http://www.cwfpac.com
  13. David Kirpatrik, "Foes of gay marriage want more outrage," New York Times, 2004-MAY-17 at: http://www.iht.com/articles/520154.html
  14. Cal Thomas, "Culture debate is over," The Witchita Eagle, 2004-MAY-23, at: http://www.kansas.com/
  15. Alan Cooperman, "Outcry from pews less than anticipated," Washington Post, published by the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader on 2004-JUN-20 at: http://www.kentucky.com/
  16. Tony Perkins, "Over Two Million Petitions Presented to Capitol Hill," Family Research Council, Washington Update, 2004-JUN-9, at: http://www.frc.org/
  17. " 'Protect Government Marriage Sunday' - Preaching Idolatry," Pro-Polygamy.com, 2004-JUL-09, at: http://www.pro-polygamy.com
  18. Mary Dalrymple, "Senate to Debate Marriage Amendment," Associated Press, 2004-JUL-9, at Christian Broadcasting Network, at: http://cbn.org/
  19. Pete Winn, "Flurry of Activity as FMA Vote Nears," Focus on the Family, Citizen Link, 2004-JUL-12.

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Copyright © 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-JUN-16
Latest update: 2004-JUL-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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