Remember in November: Ratifying the Federal Marriage Amendment

"Without a change in the makeup of the Legislature, we don't have an opportunity to get a real amendment passed"
( [email protected] ) May 18, 2004 06:51 PM EDT

Only one day has passed since Massachusetts began legalizing gay “marriage,” and more than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples have filed to receive a license recognizing their “marriage.” With this line of “married” homosexuals both in and out of the state growing by the hour, conservative Christian and pro-family groups have vowed to campaign harder in the political arena, to win back the nation for traditional marriage, Tuesday, May 18, 2004.

"It's very difficult, once a right has been claimed in law, to reverse that right, but we're going to try," said the Rev. Christopher Coyne, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

The conservatives will be waging the battle on two major fronts: national and state. Several pro-family groups have already announced a grass-roots effort to push congress in passing the Federal Marriage Amendment – the law that would effectively end and void the Massachusetts licenses. They have also announced that their local chapters in each state are working to pass a similar resolution at a statewide level. Both at the national and state level, the conservatives will push to win candidates that support the marriage amendments.

"We're not going to let this issue go away," said Kristian Mineau, president of the conservative Massachusetts Family Institute. "Our theme is `Remember in November.'"

The Massachusetts Family Institute have also made it clear that rather than directly protest the “marriage” ceremonies, they will focus their energy on shifting the faulty policies that allowed the “marriages.”

"Homosexual couples are not the enemy," said Raymond Flynn, a former Boston mayor and supporter of traditional marriage. "The enemy is the legislators who ignored and betrayed the people of Massachusetts by not giving them an opportunity to express their point of view."

The Family Research Council has also expressed that the only sure defense against the “marriages” would be an amendment at the federal level.

"This issue is boiling," said FRC president Tony Perkins. "It's gone from an academic debate to a real public policy crisis."

The federal marriage amendment must be passed with a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate, and then be ratified by at least 38 states.

So far, only 120 of 435 House members have signed on as co-sponsors to the marriage amendment, and only 12 of 100 senators. However, 39 state legislatures have passed amendments clarifying that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman.

The chaos in Massachusetts officially began in November of last year, when the Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4-3 that gay couples were “entitled to marry.” The court gave a 180-day stay on the issue, which expired on May 17.

In the weeks following the November ruling, however, the majority of the public consistently expressed discontent over the decisions of the “activist judges,” and called for an amendment to protect traditional marriage in the Bay state.

By March, the lawmakers passed a legislation that bans gay “marriage” in Massachusetts but allows civil union, which would be taken to the votes in 2006.

In the two months since March, several pro-family groups have charged the Massachusetts Supreme Court at the federal level, warning against a “Constitutional train wreck” that would follow the issuance of the “marriage” licenses. However, such appeals were turned down each time at the federal courts.

"Obviously the issue has become so much more complex now with the reality of same-sex marriage," said Coyne. "When you talk about withdrawing that reality from these couples, you're just opening a whole can of worms."

Nonetheless, the pro-family advocates have been working to recruit lawmakers that would be “willing to take a courageous stand.”

"Without a change in the makeup of the Legislature, we don't have an opportunity to get a real amendment passed," said Michael Carl, president of the Heritage Alliance, which wants both civil unions and gay marriage banned.

Mathew Staver of the Florida-based Liberty Counsel, one of the conservative lawyers handling the federal case, said the White House should also advocate the amendment more actively.

"President Bush needs to do more than make a public statement," Staver said. "He should appoint a pro-marriage advocate to his staff whose sole job is to push forward a constitutional amendment ... to educate, motivate and direct the strategy."