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SBC president answers marriage amendment questions

WASHINGTON (BP)–Having heard various questions about the Marriage Protection Amendment, Bobby Welch has a few answers.

Welch, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, was in attendance for President Bush’s speech today (June 5) in support of the initiative to protect marriage at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.

The Daytona Beach pastor listed the questions and his answers in a telephone interview following the president’s speech.

The questions:

— “Why are we so adamantly in support of the marriage amendment act, beyond the obvious [reason] that we are opposed to the homosexual lifestyle?”

— “Why do we keep voting on this [amendment] over and over when it requires a two-thirds vote?” That threshold wasn’t met in 2004 and may not be met in the Senate’s deliberations this year, Welch acknowledged.

— “Isn’t this just political jockeying, political maneuvering by Republicans and, in particular, the president when his ratings are down?”

Welch’s answers:

Explaining his support of the Marriage Protection Amendment, Welch noted that it “protects the people’s will. Our people obviously have a will to define marriage as one man and one woman. And that is borne out by numerous states that have already voted in popular elections, with overwhelmingly large numbers [for state marriage amendments].”

But, Welch noted as an illustration, “in Georgia the people have voted 76 percent in favor of a marriage act, yet the unelected and liberal judges have come in and overruled the people’s will.” A May 16 ruling by a state judge against the state amendment now has moved to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Welch added, “We need to protect marriage itself as one man and one woman” not just because it is the people’s will but the institution of marriage is “sacred and holy to us; it the common sense approach [to family relations] and it is the approach that morality would take.”

Concerning the Senate’s vote on a marriage amendment following a vote in 2004, Welch said: “It takes time.”

“It takes time to inform and alert the population of what’s going on behind their backs against their will with these liberal judges,” the SBC president said.

And it takes time to vote officials out of office who “go against the electorate.”

“Senators don’t come around but every six years. If you’ve got somebody going the wrong way, it takes time to either persuade them to see the light that this is the will of the people or, if they can’t understand that, then to get them out of office,” Welch said.

“The amendment process to the Constitution has a very, very high bar, and so it should,” Welch said. “The last time, we didn’t even get a simple majority, but the odds are when they vote on it tomorrow we will get a simple majority.”

Concerning politics and the Marriage Protection Amendment, Welch noted that supporters of the constitutional initiative who were on hand for the president’s speech included Democrats and independents, not just Republicans.

“However, in my personal opinion,” Welch said, “if it were political, I would say, ‘Perfect!’ because we want politicians in office, as president and other elected officials, who demonstrate good sense, who have some morality about them and who are not ashamed of their of their convictions — but beyond that, who are willing to represent the will of the people.

“So if it is political, I say, ‘Great. We need to find out’ [where the politicians stand].

“As has been said before in the history of politics, usually the politicians see the light when they feel the heat.” Welch said. “And when we vote on this and we continue to see the vote increase and we continue to put the spotlight on these liberal judges and these politicians who side with these liberal judges, then more and more we’re going to see that light help them understand that the population out here wants more common sense and more morality and more godliness in the institution of marriage than is being reflected by these liberal judges.”
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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