Some 200 Christian and pro-family advocates rallied outside the Indianapolis Statehouse on Friday, calling for the passage of state and federal constitutional amendments to protect traditional marriage, Friday, May 21, 2004.
"We thought we needed to make our voice heard," said Karen Washington, a lay minister at the church who served as the rally's master of ceremonies.
The rally was organized by the pro-family Alliance for the Sanctity of Marriage, and executed with the help of several predominantly black Indianapolis churches. Throughout the rally, the diverse group emphasized two points on the marriage debate: the God-given traditional marriage must be protected, and gay-“marriage” is not a civil rights issue.
"I believe strongly in God's principles for marriage," said Jill Funk, a Noblesville mother who came to the rally with her toddler. "The further we go down this path, the more it's going to be forced on our children in public schools."
This is wrong," exclaimed Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said at the steps of the Indiana Statehouse. "If marriage can mean anything, it ultimately means nothing."
Clark added that the legalization of gay “marriage” in Massachusetts had falsely exuded the idea that marriage is "simply another living arrangement.”
Ezell Wiggins, a campus minister at Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, said America must pass the Federal Marriage Amendment, or be forced to remain silent in global issues.
"We cannot clean up somebody else's backyard until we clean up our own backyard," Wiggins said.
Many of the rally’s predominantly black speakers rejected the rhetoric often used by pro-gay lobbyists, comparing civil rights to gay rights. Instead, they urged all races to come together with the God-intended traditional marriage in the center.
"We stand on our faith and on the word of God," she said, "and this is the way it was meant to be,” said Washington.
Many of the participants held banners that read, "God gave us marriage -- obey God" and "We love gays but we oppose same-sex marriages." Dozens others raised their hands and shouted “amen” to prayers as they sang hymns and patriotic songs.
The participants also said they would press Indiana legislators and members of Congress to strengthen the law prohibiting same-sex “marriages.”
Currently, Indiana law, similar to that in some three-dozen states, restricts marriage to a man and a woman. However, the law was challenged by three-same sex couples in 2002, and is pending before the state appeals court.
Additionally, two months ago, the proposed statewide ban on gay “marriage” failed at the House, with no chance of extending the debate.
However, Dr. Marvin Scott, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, attended the rally, and said the view of the public will prevail eventually.
"This (rally) should be a clear message ... that they're out of step on this issue," said Scott. "Sin will not be tolerated in the minority community, any community in this state.”