High-profile evangelicals who spoke during the 90-minute simulcast rally for traditional marriage admit to knowing that the battle for marriage would be an uphill fight. It’s no wonder why none of them seemed discouraged when the Federal Marriage Amendment failed to make it to Senate vote.
"Although we are disappointed by today's outcome, we are not distressed or defeated,” said Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, in a statement on July 14. “This is only the opening salvo in a long battle to preserve the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman -- a battle we are determined to win.”
Dobson referred to the Civil War as “another great struggle in the history of the American people” but “was not won in a day.”
“Like that great cultural clash, we are certain morality will prevail,” he said.
Dobson was one of the three invited speakers to the “Battle for Marriage: The Imminent Vote” simulcast which was aired live from Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., the Sunday before the Senate scheduled a vote on the FMA. Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, sponsor of the broadcasted rally, and Prison Fellowship Ministries’ Charles Colson, who spoke via video during the first “Battle for Marriage” simulcast in May, joined Dobson to call on millions of participating Christians to let their FMA support known to their Senators.
Colson, who during the simulcast said the word “surrender” is not in his dictionary, wrote in an editorial published on July 15, “I wish we had won, but I’m certainly not discouraged.”
“This is part of a long process of educating the public and the Congress,” he said. “There are a lot of phony arguments out here in the political atmosphere that we have to knock down one by one.”
Perkins also accepted the challenge to endure in the marriage debate.
“This was just round one,” he said, “Now that it is over, we begin training for round two.”
According to Perkins, ‘round one’ was not a complete defeat.
He said, “Pro-family forces have benefited from the debate over the past few days in two ways: One, every time this issue is forced into the public square, the opposition to same-sex 'marriage' among the American public grows. Second, we now know which Senators are for traditional marriage and which ones are not, and by November, so will voters in every state.”
“We will make it our mission to let voters know how their senators came down on this crucial issue; I am convinced they will 'remember in November,’” added Dobson, citing the catching slogan he coined during the simulcast.
Next Course of Action: The House
The FMA goes next to the House, where debates will begin as early as this fall. FMA supporters believe the amendment will have a better chance of passing the House than it did in the Senate.
Unlike the Senate, which has a fixed number of two Senators to represent each state, the House sets the number of state representatives proportionate to the state’s population.
Pro-family advocates hope the votes in the House will reflect the large grassroots effort to rally support for traditional marriage.
“We’re confident that state referenda across the country and upcoming House votes will clearly show that public support for marriage is on the rise,” said Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America’s Culture and Family Institute.