Amendment receives Fellowship’s endorsement
By John W. Kennedy
leadership of the 2.7 million-member U.S. Assemblies of
God recently endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment.
The 17-member A/G Executive Presbytery endorsed the Federal
Marriage Amendment in September, and further recommended
that pastors and congregants contact congressional representatives
to register support for the FMA.
would prevent courts from redefining marriage and also keep
states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriage
laws that might be enacted by other states.
long we have sat on the sidelines watching the pro-homosexual
lobby win victory after victory, especially in non-elected
judiciaries,” says A/G General Secretary George O.
Wood. “The only way to stop liberal non-elected judges
from sanctioning the marriage of homosexuals is to adopt
an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Along with other
Christian groups, the A/G is hoping the proposed constitutional
amendment will restore the primacy of traditional marriage
in this country. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence
and Garner v. Texas
struck down a Texas statute against homosexual relations,
thereby jeopardizing traditional marriage laws of all 50
decision could be a harbinger for the Supreme Court protecting
homosexual marriage as an equal rights issue,” Wood
told PE Report. “If it’s legal for two lesbians
or two homosexuals to marry, what would prevent courts from
making it legal for three or four consenting adults?”
marriage as between a man and a woman are in the gun sights
of the courts,” says Matt Daniels, who is founder
of the Springfield, Va.-based Alliance for Marriage and
the impetus behind the amendment. “The Lawrence
case has everything to do with the legal status of marriage.”
the Lawrence ruling, coupled with the expected pro-homosexual
marriage decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial
Court in Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public
Health — in which seven same-sex couples claim they
have a fundamental, constitutional right to marry —
has national implications for traditional marriage. Because
of the full faith and credit clause in Article 4 of the
U.S. Constitution, the Goodridge verdict could invalidate the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), overwhelmingly passed by Congress and quickly signed
by President Clinton only seven years ago.
win in Massachusetts, they will file other lawsuits invoking
false constitutional arguments for why the destruction of
marriage should be forced upon every other state,”
according to Daniels, is a constitutional amendment. He
believes it is doable, considering that 37 states —
one short of the necessary three-fourths for a constitutional
amendment — already have passed DOMA-like laws since
A federal amendment
has been passed only 27 times in the nation’s history.
To be enacted, an amendment first needs two-thirds ratification
by Congress. The two-thirds passage by the Senate —
where it hasn’t been introduced yet — could
be the toughest part, Daniels admits.
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, an Assemblies of God member from
Colorado, has introduced legislation in the House. So far,
it has attracted 99 co-sponsors, including the other two
A/G U.S. House representatives, Todd Tiahrt of Kansas and
Jo Ann Davis of Virginia.
cultural war we cannot lose this one,” Musgrave says.
“Christians have a responsibility to see that people
in office do the right thing.” Musgrave, who has been
the target of much hate mail and media vilification for
her stance, says legalization of homosexual marital unions
would impact everything from public school teachings on
heterosexual marriage to Christians’ free speech.
The FMA is succinct:
“Marriage in the United States shall consist only
of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution
nor the constitution of any State, nor state or federal
law, shall be construed to require that marital status or
the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried
couples or groups.” It says nothing about tangential
issues such as domestic partnerships and civil unions, which
would be left to the states.
that marriage was instituted by God as the fundamental institution
for human society,” Wood says. “Recognition
of homosexual marriage is the spear point of the homosexual
agenda in an attempt to change the whole social structure
There has been
a backlash since the Lawrence ruling. A May Gallup Poll found that 49 percent of
the population favored allowing homosexual marriages, compared
to 39 percent a month later. Yet politicians have been reticent
to enter the fray lest they be characterized as right-wing
Christian bigots. The Alliance for Marriage, however, has
been lining up broad-based support not only from evangelicals
but also from mainline Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Orthodox
and Muslim groups.
is the single most universal human social institution,”
Daniels told PE Report. “It transcends every racial,
cultural and religious boundary line.”
that courts in the 1990s in Hawaii and Alaska sanctioned
homosexual marriage, but legislatures in both states later
approved constitutional amendments restricting marriage
to heterosexual couples. In 2000, the Vermont legislature,
upon orders from the state supreme court, authorized “civil
unions” between homosexuals that extended marriage
benefits and protections to same-sex couples.
homosexual activists understand they cannot transform America
the way they want as long as laws recognize the unique nature
of marriage between a male and female,” says Daniels,
citing faith-based organizations, churches and even home
schools as potential targets to recognize the validity of
homosexual marriage. “If we lose this debate, it’s
only a starting point, not the end result. The moral and
social DNA of our culture will be changed forever.”
the Fellowship for taking a stand, saying that Christians
who do nothing don’t understand how courts will erode
existing legal marriage protections.
not simply another issue,” Daniels says. “This
is one of the greatest social and moral debates our nation
will ever face. It’s on a par with other historical
debates, like the debate over slavery.”