PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Oregon joined the growing list of defiant cities that issued “marriage” licenses to homosexual couples, March 3, 2004. More than 50 gay couples lined the streets leading up to Portland’s city hall when the county commissioner said she will begin licensing the couples.
Portland’s move traced the steps of three other rebellious cities across the U.S. that collectively issued more than 3,000 same-sex “marriage” licenses beginning this February. These sanctions have in turn prompted the president and congress to push for a constitutional amendment that would protect marriage as between a man and a woman, to block further acts of civil disobedience.
''We simply will not let activist judges redefine that definition of marriage,'' Majority Leader Bill Frist said in a rally of anti-gay activists, March 3. ''We will not let activist judges redefine I would say radically redefine what marriage is, and that is a union between a man and a woman.''
The Republican senator rightfully noted that “the wildfire will begin and in many ways it has already begun.
''Same sex marriage is likely to spread through all 50 states in the coming years. It is becoming increasingly clear that Congress must act,” said Frist.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas agreed with Frist, asserting that passing the amendment is a necessary and not a discriminatory move on the part of Congress.
''Millions of Americans who support the traditional institution of marriage should not be slandered as intolerant,'' Cornyn said at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing. ''The institution of marriage was not created to discriminate or oppress, it was established to protect and nurture children.''
Gay rights supporters have many times likened the homosexual movement to the civil rights movment. Using “The Protection of Equal Rights” as a guise to justify the issuance of the same-sex “marriage” licenses, the pro-gay activists defiantly stood by the mayors’ actions, and argued against the federal amendment, saying that it would prohibit “basic human rights.”
''This is politics at its nastiest,'' said Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign. ''It's a shame that the White House is orchestrating hearings to discuss whether gay families should have basic human rights protections.''
The controversial Nov. 18 ruling by the Massachusetts high court to legalize same sex “marriage” similarly based its decision on the “civil rights” front. The ruling was in large based on two cases -- Perez v. Sharp (1948) and Loving v. Virginia (1967) -- that overturned various laws banning interracial marriage.
"As both Perez and Loving make clear, the right to marry means little if it does not include the right to marry the person of one's choice..." the court wrote in the critical statement.
However, pro-family and pro-civil rights activists disagreed, adamantly pointing out the lack of any similarities between the homosexual marriage and interracial marriage.
''Laws forbidding interracial marriage are about racism,,” said Pastor Daniel de Leon Sr. of Santa Ana, Ca. ''Laws protecting traditional marriage are about children.''
In addition, prominent African American leaders took offense to such parallels.
"As an African-American I really believe that this is probably one the greatest insults you can offer to the African-American struggle," said Rev. Thann Young, pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal church in Maryland. It tends to minimize or even cheapen the struggle that African-Americans have experienced in this country by comparing it in this manner."
"It's unfair to African-Americans," he continued. "It's an injustice and a slap in the face to the struggle in which African-Americans have endured in this country."
"A man born black or any other ethnic group had no choice," agreed Robert J. Anderson Jr., pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Md., and president of the African-American Fellowship. "That's just the way he was born. But when you look into the gay community, I am personally convinced it is a choice that they make."
But even if homosexuality is genetic, Anderson said, it still "does not justify the behavior."
"Someone may have some genetic propensity for drinking," he said. "We have a depraved human nature, and it needs to be controlled.
They have tried to come in the back door and try to make a moral equivalency between civil rights and gay rights, and you can't do it. One is wrong and the other is right,” exclaimed Rev. Anderson.
Despite such dismay from African American leaders, Pro-Family and Christian leaders, the Massachusetts court reaffirmed their Nov. decision to openly issue homosexual “marriage” licenses by May, during a February briefing.
Pro-gay activists celebrated the ruling, and additionally criticized the federal amendment for protecting marriage that would overrule the state court’s decision.
''It is for the people of Massachusetts to say what their constitution should say,'' said Yale University Professor R. Lea Brilmayer. ''This premise is the basic principle of federalism, upon which the American constitutional system as a whole depends.''
But others disagreed. Pro-family groups noted that should Masechusetts begin issuing state sanctioned licenses to same sex couples, other states will be forced to recognize those licenses under the full faith and credit clause in the U.S. Constitution.
“The Massachusetts ruling could invalidate other states’ bans on same-sex marriages,” exhorted the Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning.
Christian leaders continue to argue in favor of the constitutional protection of marriage, not on a political front, but on a biblical and spiritual front.
"As a Christian, it is not an issue that I have to debate or try to defend the rightness or wrongness of," said Rev. Thann Young, while continuing the debate over homosexual “marriages.” "I know from my theological training and background and faith that this is not God's intent nor will it ever be regardless of how politicians and other groups rule."
Marriage, he said, "was created by God for God and through God, and it is not something that we have the right to change or to modify through our own political or social preferences."
The divide on same-sex "marriage" is wide, Young said, because the two sides approach it from different ends of the ideological spectrum. Homosexual activists view it as a political issue, while people of faith view it as a theological issue, he said.
"Those who are pro-gay marriage don't spend enough time looking at it from a biblical-historical position," Young said. "There's a whole attempt to redefine marriage in terms that run counter to the biblical definition of marriage."