By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — Shouts of encouragement, expressions of gratitude, calls for Christians to defend the faith and a battle cry for lawmakers to adhere to Biblical principles — all were part of the Marriage Amendment Rally held Tuesday outside the Legislature where some 3,500 gathered to proclaim their support for a bill that would allow voters to decide if North Carolina’s Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman.
“We’re standing for something that matters to God. I can assure you that all Heaven is watching. Most of all, the creator and architect and the designer of marriage is watching, and that is God himself,” Attorney David Gibbs Jr., president of the Christian Law Association and the event’s keynote speaker, told the crowd, reminding them that they were not in Raleigh to advance their own thoughts and philosophy against someone else’s but to take a stand for the Bible and follow James’ directive to “earnestly contend for the faith.”
Sponsored by Return America and led by its president, Dr. Ron Baity, the rally was designed to show support to those lawmakers willing to move ahead to put a Marriage Protection Amendment on the ballot for 2012, more than 15 of whom greeted the crowd from the platform, and to remind all elected officials of their duty to God and their constituents.
“If we as Christians are not voting for Biblical principles, we will stand before God and give an account for that,” said Nathan Tabor, chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party. “It’s simple. It’s Biblical. We must uphold and preserve the sanctity of marriage.”
Gibbs urged the crowd to “do the right thing in the right way” as they ask legislators to honor the Word of God and let the people have a say.
“The Bible requires one man, one woman to be a family. Now … there are those who say ‘Let’s have motherless homes. Let’s just have two Dads. Let’s have fatherless homes. Let’s just have two women.'” Gibbs said. “God says ‘No! I give direction. I give instruction to Moms and to Dads because by God’s architecture, that is the home.”
North Carolina is extremely vulnerable to a gay marriage lawsuit because it is the only state in the Southeast without a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. In those states where votes have been held, an average of 74 percent of the voters have confirmed their support for one man/one woman. Polls suggest the result would be similar here if Tar Heel voters were allowed a voice. Sponsors of the Marriage Protection Amendment have been plentiful and persistent over the past eight years, but previous House and Senate leaders have kept past bills bottled up. Pro-family forces are thrilled that that is not the case this year, though they know the road ahead could still be challenging.
“We need 30 votes in the Senate and we have 25 who have signed on. We need 72 votes in the House and we already have 66,” explained Sen. James Forrester (R-Gaston), longtime champion of the legislation, who addressed the crowd along with his wife, Mary Frances Forrester. She spoke on behalf of Concerned Women for America.
“As a traditionalist, as a Christian, as a Conservative, we do not hate homosexuals. In fact we love them more,” Mary Forrester said.
But, she said, because of our God-given responsibility to honor and protect the family unit, “We cannot stand by and let the radical 1 percent of our population destroy the universal definition of marriage and alter the course of civilization.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said it is time for North Carolina to protect marriage from those in Washington and from activist judges. He said there is plenty of blame to go around for the decline of the family.
“This ongoing effort to treat marriage and family like it were ‘Silly Putty’ that can be stretched and distorted into anything we like did not begin with the homosexual community,” Perkins asserted, but instead with the public policy of no-fault divorce in 1969.
“We divorced ourselves as a nation from our commitment to marriage and then we wonder why we can’t raise or borrow enough money to solve the societal problems created by the breakdown of the family,” he said, adding that politicians and judges are not the only ones at fault as our culture celebrates infidelity and churches have stood silently by.
Even so, Perkins said the tide is turning and supporters of marriage should not grow weary in doing good. Instead he urged them to commit to lobbying their lawmakers on the issue, praying for them, and phoning and texting friends, urging them to do the same.
Similarly, North Carolina Family Policy President Bill Brooks told the crowd to be willing to “lovingly engage others who have yet to understand why marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred institution and the cornerstone and foundation of society.”
“Some will try to misconstrue this effort with ugly words and pointed attacks,” Brooks said. “… Those of us here today know the real reason for our efforts. Our desire to protect marriage is to uphold, not destroy; to protect, not condemn; to love, not hate…”
Gibbs further framed the debate as he assured marriage opponents that supporters of God’s divine plan for the family will not give up.
“Our issue is not with them; our issue is with anyone who wants to advance an agenda that undermines the Book and takes away the authority of the Book,” he said. “We are here to let our voice be heard.”
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, urges Christians across the state to be heard by contacting their lawmakers and asking them to support House Bill 777, which has been referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations, and Senate Bill 106, in the Senate Rules Committee.
“House Majority Leader Paul Stam (Wake) has told us it will get done this year, and we are thankful that the leadership understands the importance of this legislation and will move ahead,” the Rev. Creech said. “Our prayers are with all our lawmakers. We can’t miss this chance to protect such a fundamental institution of our culture.”