Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, spoke to an audience of around 2,000 Oregonian pastors Monday in an effort to start an initiative to fight same-sex marriage after the Multonomah County Commissioners in Oregon voted to allow marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The gathering was held at New Hope Community Church in Clackamas, Oregon, and organized in a matter of a few days by the Defense of Marriage Coalition seeking to quickly overturn the vote.
Dobson stressed how important it is for churches to become involved in the fight of values. “This battle for marriage represents the climax, the culmination of the civil war of values. It’s been going on for about twenty years,” said Dobson.
"This is it. This is the make or break battle,” he said.
"This isn't something we wanted to do," explained Ray Cotton, pastor of the New Hope Community Church, in response to why the meeting was hosted. "This is something we had to do."
The pastors attending proved the event to have a successful turnout, representing 34 of the Oregon’s 36 counties and 150 communities, according to event organizer Tim Nahsif.
Speakers during the gathering proposed and supported an initiative to amend the state’s constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The Oregon Republican Central Committee voted last weekend to support an amendment pastors would agree to.
Also during the meeting, plans were discussed how the amendment banning gay marriage could pass. First, the wording of the amendment would need approval from the attorney general. Secondly, the amendment would need the support of 100,000 valid signatures by July 2 to get the measure on the November ballot.
House Speaker Karen Minnis, R-Wood Village, told the crowd it would be possible the constitutional amendment favoring traditional marriage to pass. "You have friends, you have allies, in the Oregon Legislature."
Dobson’s speech made sure no church would be asleep in this war.
“This is D-day. This is the one. And when it is all over, we will look back in this battle for marriage as being one that made the difference,” asserted Dobson.
He also suggested how what happens in Oregon might influence the happenings regarding same-sex marriage in other states. “Oregon is being watched across the country. It’s becoming a very important state regarding this issue,” he said.
The pastors at the meeting gave Dobson a standing ovation. The other standing ovation went to Multnomah County Commissioner Lonnie Roberts, the only commissioner of the five, who voted against the amendment allowing gay marriages.
Although the spirit of the gathering was geared toward fighting the legalization of same-sex marriages in Oregon, pastors reminded that it was a fight against the sin and not an attack on homosexual people.
"I wish we could be seen in the light we want to be seen - we love homosexuals as we love everyone - but we don't condone what they do," said Rod Vermillion, pastor at Glenfair Evangelical Church, who attended the gathering.