RALEIGH – A bill filed this past week could empower Tar Heel voters to proclaim their support of the family and strengthen the State Constitution by providing that marriage “between a man and a woman” is the only domestic legal union recognized in the state.
Some two dozen Senators from both sides of the aisle have signed on to sponsor the Defense of Marriage bill (Senate Bill 272) which would put the amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot, leaders of the effort announced Tuesday during a Marriage Amendment Press Conference held at the General Assembly in conjunction with the NC4Marriage Coalition.
“We are sponsoring this legislation because we firmly believe that North Carolina’s marriage laws are at risk of being redefined by activist courts to include same-sex couples,” said Sen. Jim Forrester (R-Gaston). “At any moment, a lawsuit challenging our marriage laws could be filed by a same-sex couple from our state that obtained a marriage license in a state where same-sex ‘marriage’ is legal. Without an amendment to our State Constitution, North Carolina is only one bad ruling away from having our marriage laws redefined.” Read the rest of this entry »
To view the entire press conference on WRAL: click here
Don’t Forget the Marriage Rally, this Tuesday, March 3 – The rally for protecting traditional marriage on the Halifax Mall of the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh is this Tuesday, March 3. North Carolinians who want their legislators to get the message that marriage matters should plan to attend. The 11 a.m. event sponsored by Return America is designed to help persuade lawmakers to let Tar Heel voters decide whether our State Constitution should be amended to confirm the definition of marriage as between “one man and one woman”. Your presence at this momentous event, along with thousands of other concerned citizens, is desperately needed.
Read related story: Rally for Marriage Planned for March 3
Forrestor cited research showing that children raised by married parents of the opposite sex are more likely to be physically healthy and to graduate from high school and less likely to live in poverty, to be abused, to have children out of wedlock and to participate in illicit drug use than any other group.
“Moms and Dads are not interchangeable,” he said. “Two men do not make a Mom and two Moms do not make a Dad. Children need both a father and a mother.”
Forrester said he has introduced nearly identical marriage protection bills five times before but is hopeful that this year’s legislation gets the attention it deserves.
“Our leadership has refused to act; has refused to have this bill heard in committee,” he said, adding that he is simply asking that the citizens of this state be given the “right and opportunity to vote on this issue as 30 other states have had and have passed amendments.”
Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) reminded those at the press conference of judicial rulings in Massachusetts and California that had ushered in same-sex marriage.
“Our concern is that without allowing the people of this state to amend their Constitution to clearly speak on this issue and define marriage as between one man and one woman, some judge somewhere, prompted by some activist lawsuit, will be able to do what some elected members of the Legislature and, more importantly, the people of this state have not been able to do, which is to speak on this issue,” said Lewis, a primary sponsor of the Defense of Marriage bill being filed in the House this coming week.
It is not clear how many representatives will sign on as sponsors of the House bill, but the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, encourages Christians across the state to urge their representatives to do so before Tuesday, March 3, the deadline for sponsors to sign on. He also urges pastors to take the matter to their congregations on Sunday and have them contact their representatives to support Lewis’ bill by becoming a sponsor. The more sponsors there are to the legislation, he says, the harder the bill is to ignore.
At the press conference, freshman legislator Rep. Pearl Burris-Floyd (R-Gaston) told the crowd that the Defense of Marriage Amendment was not about “putting people down or disrespecting people” but about “doing the right thing,” while Democrat Rep. Dewey Hill of Columbus County reminded them that protecting marriage is not a partisan issue.
Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of NC4Marriage, addressed the bill, which as been referred to the Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means, in its larger legal context.
“When the legal definition of marriage is altered, thousands of other laws are altered as well, including what is taught in our public schools concerning marriage, relationships, gender, and sexuality,” said Fitzgerald.
In addition to protecting children, Fitzgerald said that a Marriage Protection Amendment is necessary to preserve religious freedom and free speech in North Carolina. “Religious freedom is already under attack in other states and countries where same-sex ‘marriage’ is legal,” Fitzgerald pointed out. “For example, in Massachusetts, Catholic Social Charities chose to get out of the adoption business rather than place children with same-sex couples as the law requires. And in both Canada and Sweden, there have been incidents where pastors have been punished-even jailed-for writing or preaching against the normalization of homosexuality.”
The Rev. Creech said that those who oppose the bill often assert that North Carolina’s current marriage laws are sufficient to protect the state from a same-sex legal challenge.
“I think the real question is not whether our current statutes are sufficient, but are they the best protections we can provide?” Creech said. “An institution as foundational to human life as marriage deserves the best protection possible, not simply a sufficient one.”
He reminded the crowd that the N.C. Constitution had been amended more than 20 times since 1971 for a variety of reasons, “none of which were as important as protecting our state’s most foundational institution.”
Pastor Olden Thornton of Raleigh International Church called the issue “a downright spiritual attack” and challenged supporters to ask God to resolve what he called society’s “identity crisis” as they pray for the bill’s passage.
Speaking for both the Charlotte and Raleigh dioceses, Bishop Peter Jugis called for the “Catholic faithful” across the state and “all people of good will” to support the proposed legislation and to contact their legislators.
“In a rapidly changing society many new ideas and concepts are offered as equals to time honored and proven beliefs and practices. Discernment and wisdom are necessary to distinguish which new ideas and concepts should be incorporated into our society,” Jugis said. “… We join with millions of citizens across the state of North Carolina who believe the definition of marriage should remain the same as it has for thousands and thousands of years – that of a union between a man and a woman.”
To find out more about the Defense of Marriage effort and what you can do to get involved, log on to www.nc4marriage.org..
Take Christian Action: Contact your Representative in the North Carolina House and ask him/her to sponsor Rep. David Lewis’s Defense of Marriage bill and to sign onto it before Tuesday, March 3, which is the deadline for sponsoring the legislation in the House. The more lawmakers sign the bill to sponsor, the harder it will be for the House Leadership to ignore.
Pastors are strongly encouraged to take this matter up with the church and provide their congregation with the name and contact information of the NC Representative in their church’s district. Explain the urgency of the matter from the pulpit or during the announcements. Put it in the church bulletin or have the ushers pass out flyers. Urge congregants to make phone calls and send emails before Tuesday.
If you don’t know who represents you or your area in the North Carolina House, take these four easy steps and then save the information for future reference.
- Go to the North Carolina General Assembly’s web site at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us
- At the top of the NCGA web site click on “Representation“
- At the top of the Representation page under the first category of “Representation” are listed four means of securing the name and contact information of the person/persons representing your district. It can either be accessed by Voter Registration, District, County, or ZIP Code
- Simply clicking on the Zip Code category can be the easiest and fastest way of securing the needed information. Type in the zip code + 4 code as registered on your driver’s license and a page with your lawmaker’s names (NC House, NC Senate) and links to their contact information will appear.