Leaders of pro-family groups also sent an open letter to the New York Times and Sen. Edward Kennedy, saying that Bush’s support for the Federal Marriage Amendment does not stem from bias or bigotry. The letter, which included Family Research Council President James Dobson, was sent on Feb. 25 in response to a Times editorial charging the president it its headline, “Putting Bias in the Constitution.”
Pro-family leaders who signed the letter are: James C. Dobson, president of Focus on the Family; Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for American Center for Law and Justice; Don Wildmon, founder and executive director of American Family Association; Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse; and Deal Hudson, Editor for Crisis Magazine.
The letter begins by rejecting the charges of bias against Bush, as stated in the New York Times editorial. The letter states that marriage amendment does not revoke anyone’s constitutional right.
“We are appalled by criticism that the Federal Marriage Amendment, endorsed by the President, is — as The New York Times asserted editorially — ‘putting bias in the Constitution,’” reads the letter. “Gay marriage has never been a constitutional right in America or any other civilized nation. No one wants to ‘take away’ some supposed right. It is the rogue judges who are trying to create a new right. When even one state creates ‘gay marriage,’ all states could be forced to recognize such unions; a constitutional amendment is the only sure way to prevent that from happening.”
The letter lists the numerously diverse groups that are supporting the amendment, which by defining marriage to be a union between a man and a woman will preserve family values.
“It is because of the tyrannical actions of these unaccountable judges that a broad-based coalition of individuals and organizations — evangelical Christians, Catholics (three cardinals and 28 bishops), Muslims, Jews, scholars from the nation's prestigious law schools — have banded together to preserve the traditional meaning of marriage. It is a diverse group that includes leaders from the biggest association of Hispanic churches in the United States, North America's two largest orthodox Jewish groups and the nation's two largest African-American denominations. The coalition spokesman is Walter Fauntroy, who marched with Martin Luther King.”
The letter refers to the overwhelming consensus that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“The charges of bias are especially galling in the light of the fact that 85 U.S. Senators and 342 Members of the House voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed by President Clinton,” it reads. “It contained the very same language, that marriage in the United States shall be between one man and one woman. Are all of these leaders, including former President Clinton, bigots? According to the polls, two-thirds of the American people oppose granting new rights for gay marriage-is that bigotry? Is it bigotry that the overwhelming majority of religious traditions support marriage as the union of one man and one woman?”
Supporting the amendment is not an act of discrimination against those in society but rather protecting society, argues the letter.
“We suggest that these personal attacks are being made to mask the real issues and distort the debate. It is not bigotry or intolerance to defend an institution every society has recognized as essential to its stable social order. It is indeed intolerance in the extreme to characterize those who defend that institution as bigots.”
The letter asserts that the only way to resolve the debate is by letting the people decide.
“It is also disingenuous to argue, as some do, that they are opposed to gay marriage but oppose any constitutional amendment. It is now clear that the amendment is the only way to prevent court imposed gay marriage-or public officials recklessly disregarding the law granting licenses. Is it wrong to let the people vote? Do we not trust the people? Apparently The New York Times and others do not.”
The letter ends with a call for both parties of the issue to maintain a level of respect through the use of language.
“This is an issue of enormous consequence which must be debated with great deliberation and sensitivity. Name calling and screeching political rhetoric is beneath the dignity required for a thoughtful national conversation about an issue of great gravity.
“We pledge ourselves not to engage in rhetoric that demeans others — either for their sexual orientation or for religious beliefs that might differ from ours. We call on the editors of the Times, Sen. Kennedy and others who oppose this amendment to make the same commitment.”
The proposal of the Federal Marriage Amendment follows a series of events involving the illegal issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in San Francisco despite California State Law.
The marriage amendment will ban same-sex marriage licenses but still allows states to decide on the issue of civil unions.
Several pro-family groups have filed a case against actors involved in the same-sex marriages. Campaign for California Families has joined Concerned Women for America in efforts to prevent same-sex marriages from becoming legal. These two groups thank Bush for wanting to protect marriage but also want the amendment to include a ban on civil unions between same-sex couples.
"Concerned Women for America is grateful to President Bush for speaking out in favor of the integrity of marriage," CWA President Sandy Rios said in a statement. "But we regret that we cannot support the defective remedy he has chosen."
Just yesterday, Alliance Defense Fund filed another lawsuit against San Francisco County Clerk Nancy Alfaro.