Christian Groups Seeking to Shape Gay Marriage

( [email protected] ) Mar 26, 2004 11:10 AM EST

WISCONSIN -- As some scholars point out, religious organizations, especially Christian groups, are playing powerful role in shaping American culture and politics. Currently, the most noticeable action taken by Christian-based organizations would be banning gay marriage.

Such trend is apparent in Wisconsin state as well. According to Professor Cohen, director of religious studies at the University of Wisconsin, religion will continue to play a large role in the Wisconsin gay marriage debate.

"I think that currently in American politics and American culture, religious identification has become very important," Cohen said.

"For many people, the notion that homosexuality and lesbianism are sinful is sufficient cause to ban gay marriage," he said.

The Family Research Institute of Wisconsin, which describes itself as rooted in Judeo-Christian morality and principles, agrees with Cohen’s views. FRI is one of the most active religious organizations in the debate over gay marriage issues, pushing state legislators to adopt a constitutional amendment, more over banning same sex unions.

Julaine Appling, the executive director, said Christian doctrine condemns homosexuality but not gay people.

"We believe that God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and that was the limit," she said, adding gay unions are detrimental to society. "I don't think [same-sex marriage] is in the best interest of society. If you open it to same-sex marriage, where do you stop?"

"Our religious beliefs would oppose homosexual behavior, it is not opposing homosexuals," she added.

Currently gay marriage supporters, even within some Christian communities, are advocating gay rights across the nation actively opposing the federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

However, Christian groups that are deeply rooted in Christian faith will not step back in this battle despite such opposition. They are expected to fiercely continue supporting the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage until it passes.

"We are going to do everything we could possibly do to influence the legislation and educate the people," Appling said. "The opposition is going to get more aggressive and the rhetoric is going to be more intense as we move into the second round."