By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — “Let the people vote!” “We want to vote!” At least four times Monday morning, this chant rose from Halifax Mall as hundreds rallied in support of marriage.
“There is no issue for the North Carolina General Assembly or the public to consider now or later that is of greater gravity than how marriage will ultimately be defined among us,” the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League told the crowd. “Marriage was the first institution created by God and it is the cornerstone – the very building block of our culture.”
Rev. Creech was among more than a dozen speakers to address the rally organized by the Rev. Patrick L. Wooden, senior pastor of Raleigh’s Upper Room Church of God in Christ.
Tami Fitzgerald with the North Carolina Values Coalition emphasized the eight-year battle waged to get the issue on the ballot and specifically addressed objections and false claims made about the constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
“It’s not about equality or equal rights… it’s not about discrimination …. or ….about denying homosexuals the ability to commit to one another,” she said. “It’s not about tolerance or intolerance.” She said it also isn’t about heterosexuals and divorce or even about religion although there are some good faith-based reasons for supporting marriage. Fitzgerald said it also isn’t about hurting businesses, taking on the opposition’s recent claim that companies will shun North Carolina if marriage is protected.
“Nothing could be more baseless,” she said, reminding the crowd that time after time, states ranked in the top 10 for business are those with constitutional protections for their strong marriage laws and that 30 U.S. states already have those amendments in place.
The Family Research Council’s Randy Wilson said an amendment is necessary because the definition of marriage is under attack and being redefined even though history shows that “societies thrive best when this standard is supported and protected.”
He said when God established marriage as described in Genesis, it “came under attack almost immediately through deception, manipulation and intimidation,” and that those same tactics are being used today.
Like many behind the podium on Monday, Wilson laid the responsibility at the feet of Christians who have too often failed to vote Biblically.
“The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption,” he said quoting James Garfield.
Derek McCoy of the Maryland Family Alliance called on the words of Martin Luther King Jr. as he characterized those rallying for traditional marriage: “We did not hesitate to call our movement an army. But it was a special army, with no supplies but its sincerity, no uniform but its determination, no arsenal except its faith, no currency but its conscience.” He told the crowd that it was up to them to be a the “moral voice of conscience” to the Legislature, saying “They don’t know what is right and wrong unless you say it.”
A leader in the recent fight against a bill that would have established same-sex marriage in Maryland, McCoy said the keys to that victory were prayer and work and urged ralliers not to leave Raleigh without visiting their lawmakers. He begged them not to allow party politics to divide them on this issue.
“If you let it be about a party, you are wrong,” he told the cheering crowd.
The Frederick Douglass Foundation’s Kevin Daniels also quoted King and called out any who would try to “steal and highjack” the Civil Rights movement by equating it with the homosexual agenda.
He reminded them of King’s words as he told followers that their ultimate allegiance belonged to God only: “If any earthly institution conflicts with God’s will it is your Christian duty to take a stand against it.”
Steve Noble of Called2Action also emphasized the responsibility of Christians in the fight for the Marriage Protection Amendment.
Indicating the lawmakers inside the Legislative Building, Noble said, “Friends, they work for us. They answer to us.” But he added, “I have come to bring a reminder to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, we answer to God.”
“If we are silent and not the watchman and watchwomen on the wall and marriage falls, the blood of that institution is on us,” he said.
Rev. Wooden focused both the diversity and unity of the crowd.
“We have gathered among us Democrats, Republicans, members of the NAACP, non-members of the NAACP, preachers of various denominations and backgrounds, people from a cross section of America, standing together, saying we want the right to vote on this issue!” he said.
Near the rally’s end, Pastor M. Lamont Cooper Sr., of Millennium Revival Center, opened his remarks by looking toward the Legislative Building and declaring, “As a prophet of the Most High God, I command you, in the name of Jesus, to let God’s people vote.”
After the chants of “Let the people vote” died down, Rev. Cooper listed a number of practical reasons to support marriage, not the least of which was the fact that it serves as a catalyst to increase family wealth. He said studies show marriage also leads to lower rates of depression, better health and longer life expectancies for both males and females.
Rev. Creech said that when marriage is strong, society is strong; and when it’s weak, society weakens.
In fact, he said he did not believe it to be hyperbole to say that, “in the final analysis, this issue is about our continued existence as a people, as a state and nation.”
“It is about the very hope and future of our children and our children’s children,” he added. “And, every North Carolinian should be allowed an opportunity to weigh in on a matter of such magnitude.