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DNC Chair targets Bush over Marriage Protection Week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The head of the Democratic National Committee released two statements Oct. 6 opposing the president’s Marriage Protection Week proclamation and supporting the homosexual-themed National Coming Out Day.

In the statements DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe said Bush’s proclamation was a “desperate move” intended to attract “right-wing” voters. McAuliffe also said that the DNC opposes efforts to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex “marriage.” The statements were posted on the DNC website.

In his Oct. 3 proclamation Bush called marriage a “sacred institution” and stated that marriage is between a man and a woman. He also pointed to research that shows “on average, children raised in households headed by married parents fare better than children who grow up in other family structures.”

“Marriage Protection Week provides an opportunity to focus our efforts on preserving the sanctity of marriage and on building strong and healthy marriages in America,” Bush said.

Bush said his administration is working to ensure that the government doesn’t “penalize” couples for being married. He noted that his tax package eliminated the so-called marriage penalty.

The Southern Baptist Convention and some 25 pro-family organizations are celebrating Marriage Protection Week Oct. 12-18, seeking to focus the nation’s attention on both the importance of marriage and the need for a constitutional amendment.

“In a desperate move to attract the right-wing base of his party,” McAuliffe wrote, “Bush has again aligned himself with the Rev. Jerry Falwell and right-wing organizations such as the Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council.”

Tom Elliff, an Oklahoma pastor who chairs the Southern Baptist Convention’s Council on Family Life, expressed disbelief that anyone could be opposed to Bush’s proclamation.

“Casting aside all reason, he apparently thinks that if the current administration is for anything, he must position himself and his party against it,” Elliff told Baptist Press. “What’s more, he considers anyone who doesn’t submit to this kind of thought control worthy of the vicious criticism.”

McAuliffe called the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment “anti-gay” and said Republicans who support it are moving “further outside of the mainstream.”

He quoted an ABC News poll that found only 20 percent of Americans believe it is “worth” amending the Constitution. But that poll contrasts with three polls this year that found between 54 and 58 percent of Americans support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage.”

When the subject of same-sex “marriage” was being debated nationally this summer, McAuliffe released a statement saying that Democrats “believe every American and every family has the right to participate fully and equally in American society and to enjoy the benefits and freedoms thereof.”

Although the national Democratic Party has not taken a stand on legalizing same-sex “marriage,” other Democrats have. For example, the New York State Democratic Committee passed a resolution in September supporting the legalization of homosexual “marriage” in the state.

Southern Baptists passed a resolution against same-sex “marriage” in June but also re-stated their desire to take the Gospel to homosexuals while standing firm on the biblical truth that homosexuality is a sin.

“Southern Baptists believe strongly in the biblical definition of marriage as being a union between one man and one woman,” Elliff, a former SBC president, said. “… We believe that the ultimate solution for homosexuality, as with all sin, is deliverance through Christ.

“By taking such a position, however, we have, in McAuliffe’s words, become ultra-conservative, right-wingers — labels he reserves for anyone who doesn’t employ his reasoning, absent as it is of biblical principle.”

McAuliffe, not Bush, is the one seeking to appease his base — in this case the votes of homosexuals — Elliff said.

“In order to garner it, he is willing to ditch the support of the vast majority of Americans who hold to the traditional and biblical view of marriage,” Elliff said.

In a separate statement Oct. 6 McAuliffe stated his support for National Coming Out Day, an annual event in which once-silent homosexuals tell their friends and family about their sexual preference.

Calling such an action a “tremendous act of courage,” McAuliffe said, “While President Bush continues to use attacks on GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered] Americans as a political strategy, Democrats continue to work toward creating an environment that makes it easier for all GLBT Americans to come out.”

Elliff said that Southern Baptists must not compromise on the issue of marriage.

“Standing as we are at the crossroads of society, we must have compassionate hearts … but not compromise on the principles found in the Word of God,” he said. “After all, marriage is God’s idea in the first place and there’s no need to toss aside either His purpose or His principles regarding it.”
— The complete text of President Bush’s proclamation can be read online at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=16807.
— The complete text of Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s statement on Marriage Protection Week follows:

“On October 3, 2003, President Bush, facing the reality that increasingly fewer Americans think he should be re-elected, and at the direction of ultra-conservative organizations, declared the week of October 12-18 ‘Marriage Protection Week.’

“In a desperate move to attract the right-wing base of his party, Bush has again aligned himself with the Rev. Jerry Falwell and right-wing organizations such as the Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council. These groups, who have formed ‘The Coalition to Protect Marriage,’ last week declared that with Bush’s support they would begin lobbying all members of Congress for the passage of the anti-gay ‘Federal Marriage Amendment.’

“The DNC has already declared its opposition to this amendment, which legal experts from both ends of the political spectrum have acknowledged would be used to repeal hundreds of laws enacted by state legislatures to provide basic benefits and rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Americans. According to a recent ABC News Poll, only 20% of Americans favor this anti-gay amendment.

“Even Vice President Dick Cheney, former conservative Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson (WY) believe that the issue of civil marriage equality is one for the states. The President’s position and the Republican National Committee’s plan to place in its official party platform the language of this anti-gay amendment shows that the Republican party is again moving further outside of the mainstream. We can only assume given the President’s support for this divisive measure and his otherwise poor record on GLBT issues, that he and his Party are indeed uninterested in demonstrating compassion toward GLBT Americans.”

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  • Michael Foust