NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The same-sex “marriage” movement suffered a serious setback Nov. 2 when voters in 11 states, including left-leaning Oregon, passed constitutional marriage amendments by an average of 70.1 percent of the vote.
The amendments vary in terms of their strength — some ban Vermont-type civil unions, some don’t — but all of them ban the recognition of same-sex “marriage.” The margin of victory spanned from 56-44 percent in Oregon to 86-14 percent in Mississippi. All but two of the amendments passed with 60-plus percent support.
This year alone, pro-family groups are 13-for-13 in passing marriage amendments. Going back to 1998 — when the first marriage amendment was placed before voters — they’re 17-for-17.
More than a third of all states now have a constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage.
“This is a tidal wave. There’s no other way to describe this,” Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage, said of the election results.
In addition to Oregon and Mississippi, voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah also passed amendments.
The amendments are seen largely as a backlash against events of recent months. In May Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex “marriage,” thanks solely to a ruling by its high court. Earlier this year San Francisco’s mayor issued marriage licenses to thousands of same-sex couples — in defiance of state law — before being stopped by the California Supreme Court.
“The people in these states are speaking directly to the courts,” Carrie Gordon Earll, senior policy analyst for Focus on the Family Action, told BP. “This is a message to the courts, saying, ‘Don’t mess with marriage. Marriage is one man, one woman. Leave it alone.'”
The amendments tie the hands of state courts, preventing a Massachusetts-type ruling. But they can be overturned in federal court, and pro-family leaders are quick to note that a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution is still needed. Nebraska’s marriage amendment is being challenged in federal court.
“That is not bullet-proof,” Gordon Earll said of the state amendments. “We must have a constitutional amendment to do that [protect marriage].”
Nevertheless, Daniels said the amendments’ success was good news for the Marriage Protection Amendment, which failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote this year in the House and Senate. Daniels’ organization authored the amendment and has been its chief advocate.
“Based on last night, if we get our marriage amendment out of the Congress, it will fly through the states,” Daniels said. “There will be no stopping it. And the other side knows that.”
Glen Lavy of the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-family legal organization, agreed.
“This shows that there is already substantial support in the states for an amendment to the Constitution — that the states that have adopted marriage amendments would likely approve a marriage protection amendment to the federal Constitution,” Lavy said.
Amendments to the U.S. Constitution require the passage of not only two-thirds of the House and Senate but also ratification by three-quarters of the states.
Homosexual activists weren’t spinning the results, but they also weren’t conceding in their fight to legalize same-sex “marriage” nationwide. Their strategy involves taking their legal battle to federal court and ultimately to the Supreme Court, thereby forcing same-sex “marriage” on every state. Already, six lawsuits have been filed against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the law that gives states the option of not recognizing another state’s same-sex “marriage.”
“We knew going into these amendment fights that we were going to take it on the chin in most places,” Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told the Associated Press. “This issue is going to be resolved by the U. S. Supreme Court, and it’s not going to give a [expletive] what these state constitutions say.”
The most significant victory Nov. 2 was in Oregon. The Oregon Supreme Court was scheduled to hear a same-sex “marriage” case Nov. 17. Now, that case appears to be moot, although homosexual activists may still push for legalization of Vermont-style civil unions.
The nation’s leading homosexual activist organizations had targeted Oregon, hoping to defeat at least one amendment on election night. Thanks in part to funding by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign — two homosexual activist organizations — pro-family groups were outspent by a margin of nearly 3 to 1.
But in the end, support for the amendment by churchgoers was the difference.
“While I would have liked the percentage of victory on Measure 36 to have been greater, its passage with 56 percent of the vote is significant,” said Kelly Boggs, pastor of Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore. “Given the liberal nature of Oregon, coupled with the fact that activists groups approached Measure 36 as a national referendum on same-sex ‘marriage,’ I consider the margin of victory almost a landslide.”
Oregon’s amendment was placed on the ballot after pro-family groups and churches gathered twice the number of signatures required. The signature-gathering campaign came after officials in Multnomah County — the state’s most populous county — issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state law. A judge subsequently ordered the county to stop.
In the end, the action by the county officials backfired.
“I see the passage of Measure 36 as a victory for righteousness,” Boggs said. “I am proud of the way churches in Oregon came together to support the sanctity of marriage. I hope that churches throughout America will be encouraged by our success. Believers are called to be the salt of society, and that means influencing the culture morally as well as spiritually.”
The vote percentage on the state amendments were: Oregon, 56-44; Ohio, 62-38; Michigan, 59-41; Montana, 66-34; North Dakota, 73-27; Oklahoma, 76-24; Utah, 66-34; Georgia, 77-23; Kentucky, 75-25; Arkansas, 75-25; Mississippi, 86-14.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage