SBC Life Articles

Federal Marriage Amendment

There is growing support for a Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) in which a marriage would be defined as only between a man and a woman. As cases involving the legalization of homosexual marriage crop up on the state level, proponents of the FMA are hoping to curb this trend by going straight to the Constitution, which would permanently end the assaults on marriage. The effort is led by a Virginia-based group called Alliance for Marriage, which backs the FMA. If passed, the amendment would "restrict the definition of marriage to a union between one man and one woman, and prohibit state or federal courts from forcing legislatures to award the benefits of marriage to unmarried homosexual couples," according to an April article by Focus on the Family's Citizen magazine.

Matt Daniels of the Alliance for Marriage, in the Citizen article, says that this is a key time for this amendment. "Right now, we are entering into a historic debate over the future of marriage and family in America. It is unprecedented, because we are on the verge of seeing the legal status of marriage destroyed."

The Alliance for Marriage also boasts a very diverse group and range of opinion from academic and religious leaders. Members include leaders from the two largest African-American denominations, the biggest association of Hispanic churches in the United States, and two large orthodox Jewish groups.

One of the sponsors of the FMA, also known as H.J.R. 93, is Rep. Joe Pitts, R-PA. "To have a broad-based, multiethnic [coalition] leading the charge is very important [because] this can't be painted as just the religious right or some other stereotype by the opponents."

Support for the definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman is supported by the American public. According to a national Gallup and Wirthlin poll, about 70 percent of Americans oppose gay "marriage," and in Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Nevada, voters have said to keep a traditional view of marriage.

Daniels said that the key to this argument is to emphasize the positive effects that marriage will have. "When [gay activists] go into that public debate, they only talk about legal benefits because they know the destruction of marriage is unpopular. But when we go into public debate, we talk about marriage: It's good for kids. It's a blessing to children and society, and we need to pass it on to future generations."



If the Federal Marriage Amendment is not supported:

• Lawsuits demanding a "right to marry" would likely continue to proliferate, and if passed in one state, other states would be pressured to recognize it under the Constitution's "full faith and credit clause," which requires each state to honor another's public contracts.

• A "right" to gay "marriage" would cheapen marriage, opening the way for legalization of abhorrent laws regarding marriage and family.

• Gay "marriages" could paralyze Christian activism on the issue.

• Christian pastors may be restricted from performing heterosexual marriages if they refuse to perform homosexual marriages.

• Our religious freedoms could be ended. Faith-based charities, Christian schools, and churches could be censored.

• Sexual deviancy would be officially endorsed nationwide.

    About the Author

  • SBC Staff