People of Faith Fight to Preserve Marriage
- 2004 27 Apr
Shannon Royce wants marriage to be more than a union between a man and a woman. She also wants it to be a wedding between the U.S. government and God's will for the world.
Royce, executive director of the Marriage Amendment Project, is pushing for a constitutional amendment that would leave no wiggle room for same-sex marriage.
“People need to pick up a phone and call their Representatives and Senators and let them know they support the federal marriage amendment that is there now,'' said Royce, who is leading the charge to create a national mandate that marriage unites members of the opposite sex only.
Working against that rally is a Massachusetts directive scheduled to take effect on May 17 that will issue legal marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“I don't think any of us can foresee the devastating effects of that. It's so beyond our imagination,'' said Royce, who senses that the public won't begin to blister about same-sex marriage until the Massachusetts law takes effect.
“You'll see even more of a spontaneous response when people see the front pages of their newspapers and see that Massachusetts is giving out legal licenses,'' she said, explaining that so far most of the hand-wringing has been over unlawful gay “marriages'' in San Francisco and New York.
Royce doesn't want to wait until May 17 to put out the flame of homosexual marriage, which is why she is pressing for the amendment that President Bush has said he supports.
The amendment resolution currently has 117 co-sponsors in the House (H.J. Res 56) and 13 in the Senate (S.J. Res 30), said Royce, who thinks government plays a role in marriage. Just not ”the'' role.
“Marriage is an institution that predates government,'' she said. “Government was created for the benefit of the family, but marriage was before written history, so government does not create marriage, but simply affirms it.''
The current U.S. laws regarding marriage are good; Royce just doesn't want to see them erased in one fell Massachusetts swoop.
She explained that once Massachusetts acts, a same-sex couple from another state could go there, get married, then return to their home state demanding to have their marriage recognized in every way.
“And when they're denied, they sue and claim it's a violation of their equal protection rights,'' she said, adding that failure to pass a constitutional amendment would have the effect of playing dominoes.
“You knew when you knock one down the rest would fall,'' she said. “It might take 10 or 15 seconds, but it was going to happen. Well, this effort to pass a constitutional amendment is an effort to put our hand in to stop all the dominoes from falling.''
Royce isn't alone in wanting government to guard the sanctity of marriage.
Mike McManus, executive director of the MarriageSavers ministry that works to eradicate divorce across America, currently is also speaking out against separation ... of church and state.
“We need to have government money (in non-secular enterprises),'' McManus said. “The government does have standards which are Biblical. Right now there is a federal law that says marriage is between a man and a woman.''
And McManus and Royce want to keep it that way.
“Which is why this amendment is an important issue,'' McManus said. He warned that Massachusetts isn't the only state on the brink of capsizing marriage. Oregon also is on the verge of a similar move.
Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank Bearden told the county to stop issuing licenses for same-sex marriages. But he ordered Oregon's legislature to recognize the 3,022 marriage licenses issued since March 3 to gay couples, and to pass a new law legalizing same-sex unions.
The judiciary isn't the only culprit in this attack on the traditional definition of marriage. San Francisco's mayor ordered city clerks to grant homosexual and lesbian couples marriage licenses, though Californians voted in a referendum that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Still, government can be an ally in the cause for safeguarding family from counter-cultural attack.
In Springfield, Ohio, for example, the Department of Job and Family Services is investing $62,000 received from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families into MarriageSavers of Clark County to help cut a divorce rate of more than 85 percent.
Without that financial support, MarriageSavers probably would not exist in Springfield, which shows that a complete separation between church and state can be as damaging to the state as to the church. The higher the divorce rate, the more funds go toward children services, which drain other government agencies.
“We believe that a healthy marriage, or the effort to make it happen, is as crucial as other government services such as medical coverage and transportation,'' said Bob Suver, Director of Clark County Department of Job and Family Services. “We feel government has a role in helping marriages, because we've had such a large role in picking up the pieces from (failed) marriages.''
Of course, failed marriages can be a good thing. Royce wants to see marriages fail all through Massachusetts next month - same-sex marriages -- and she's pushing government to make it happen.
Family Research Council
In Defense of Marriage--President Bush Makes the Case
A New Turn in the Same-Sex Marriage Battle