(AgapePress) - President George W. Bush has declared October 12-18 as "Marriage Protection Week," a proclamation pro-family activists pushed for in light of the growing threat by homosexuals and their supporters to redefine marriage.

Bush's proclamation described marriage specifically as "a union between a man and a woman," and he said it is "a sacred institution, and its protection is essential to the continued strength of our society." According to the president, setting aside this week gives U.S. citizens "an opportunity to focus our efforts on preserving the sanctity of marriage and on building strong and healthy marriages in America."

Concerned Women For America (cwfa.org) is among the many pro-family groups promoting Marriage Protection Week. CWFA spokeswoman Sandy Rios emphasizes that the special week is about protecting marriage – not about intolerance or hostility against homosexuals.

"We embark upon this course not as a punishment for our gay friends and family members," she explains, "but in order to remind them, as we remind ourselves, that there is a moral order, laid down by the Creator of all things, that shall not be transcended by the laws of mere men."

Rios believes the traditional view of marriage needs to be defended against the efforts of liberal groups and homosexual activists who seek to redefine the institution legally to include same-sex relationships.

"If we lose our self restraint, we will lose our freedoms. Gay marriage is not the wave of the future. It is the precursor of the end of society as we know it, filled not with order and prosperity but with moral chaos and decline," Rios says.

Rios feels that Bush, in issuing a proclamation of support for marriage, has done more than any other president in recent memory to promote the traditional view of marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. "Marriage is the support beam of society," she says. "The president understands this, both in his personal life and his public policy, and we thank God for that."

Rios and other pro-family leaders say they will do everything they can to mobilize people to stand up for the traditional definition of marriage and to fight efforts to redefine it.

Answering Critics of Marriage Protection Week

However, many liberal leaders and members of the homosexual community are criticizing the proclamation, charging that supporters of the traditional view of marriage and this week's special emphasis are bigoted and intolerant. Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe assailed Bush for endorsing Marriage Protection Week and blasted the Federal Marriage Amendment, which he says would be used to repeal legislation "to provide basic benefits and rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans."

But Culture and Family Institute (cultureandfamily.org) director Robert Knight counters that the DNC, by "promoting special 'rights' for people based on sexual deviancy," is continuing to move away from mainstream America and to embrace "an extreme agenda hostile to the traditional family."

And according to Family Research Council (FRC) (frc.org) president Tony Perkins, it is not only liberal politicians who are embracing this agenda. He believes the current assault on traditional marriage is due largely to judicial activism, or what he calls "the black plague." Perkins says "un-elected judges in black robes are not only ruling against the wishes of the American people, they are overturning laws passed by the elected representatives of the people."

On October 2, FRC announced a Marriage Protection Pledge, which it intends to ask every U.S. lawmaker at the state and federal level to sign. The pledge says the elected official promises to protect the "inviolable definition of marriage" and that he or she firmly believes marriage consists of the legal union of one man and one woman.

The Marriage Protection Pledge also asserts that everyone, subject to state laws, has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex. Moreover, the pledge affirms the belief that the "uniting of persons in a civil union, domestic partnership or similar relationship shall not be valid or recognized with any legal benefits or privileges" in the U.S.

According to Perkins, the movement to defend traditional marriage is of immediate necessity, thanks in part to a recent Supreme Court of Vermont ruling imposing "a counterfeit form of marriage" in Vermont, and the potential for a Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that could "force the recognition of same-sex marriage on the people of that state as well." Because of rampant judicial activism in America, the FRC's president says "the very foundation of our nation is in danger."

Perkins says the U.S. courts are treating marriage as if it were "a Mr. Potato Head where individual preferences govern its makeup." But he contends that "marriage has no interchangeable components."

According to the Family Research Council, polls show that the majority of Americans still hold to the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. During Marriage Protection Week, the FRC is making resources available to help citizen activists get involved in the fight to protect marriage.

© 2003 AgapePress.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.