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Jan. 2, lawmakers in Massachusetts advanced a referendum that would let voters define marriage on the 2008 ballot.
BY GAIL BESSEREGISTER CORRESPONDENT
BOSTON — Defense of marriage
supporters were buoyed early in the year by an unexpected victory in
Massachusetts, the only state to allow same-sex “marriage.”
An attempt to restore legal
protection there cleared one hard-fought hurdle Jan. 2, when lawmakers advanced
a referendum that would let voters define marriage on the 2008 ballot.
The pace of legislative activity
nationwide is expected to slow in this off-election year. But homosexual
advocacy groups do have a plan. They intend to press their cause and reframe
the concept of family by swaying public opinion, according to their statements.
Ronald Lee has an insider’s
perspective of the homosexual lifestyle and its subcultures. “The public’s been
sold a mirror image,” said the 45-year-old Catholic convert who chose chastity
after 20 years in the lifestyle.
He advised those defending marriage
to improve their odds of success by shifting the focus of debate.
“Don’t talk in an abstract way. Ask
questions. Make people talk about what it really means to be a homosexual,” he
said in a recent interview from his Houston home.
He predicted the “facade of
respectability” cannot continue indefinitely, but said, “Between now and the
long run, a lot of innocent people are going to suffer.” He warned marriage
defenders not to allow the consequences of homosexual sex to be ignored, like
the “elephant in the living room.”
Lee’s powerful testimony is detailed
in his autobiographical article, “The Truth Behind the Homosexual Movement,”
which is linked on the website of MassResistance.org, a Massachusetts
pro-family group. His article originally ran in the February 2006 edition of
“The unhappiness so common among
homosexuals is swept under the carpet, while fanciful and unrealistic ‘role
models’ are offered up for public consumption,” Lee wrote.
Without the image of “respectability
and the appearance of normalcy that homosexual activists have projected, he
concluded, “we would not now be engaged in a serious debate about the
legalization of same-sex ‘marriage.’”
Since the November elections, 41
states now have marriage protection statutes, 27 of them in the form of
Pressure, Not Principle
The Massachusetts victory in January
surprised homosexual activists, who had lobbied since 2002 to kill this and an
earlier amendment. But intense grassroots pressure, coupled with two lawsuits —
one for punitive damages — and an eventual mandate from the state Supreme
Judicial Court, finally forced the Legislature to act on it, just hours before
the clock would have run out on its chances.
This unexpected outcome evidently
took the national homosexual advocacy group Human Rights Campaign off-guard.
Massachusetts is listed as a 2006 “victory” in its national legislative report
issued Jan. 23. Questioned on the validity of this claim, Human Rights
Campaign’s State Legislative Director Carrie Evans said that because the state
marriage amendment had not advanced as of Dec. 31, it was claimed as a
The 11th-hour vote was “a victory
for moral sanity and constitutional government,” said C.J. Doyle, director of
the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts.
But, he noted, “Pressure, not
principle, is what motivated many of our legislators to finally do the right
thing. This battle will now be re-fought, perhaps with even greater intensity,
over the next two years.”
Noting the issue’s national
significance, opponents will continue to target the measure, which must pass a
second hurdle this year.
Nationwide, state marriage defenders
are in various stages of planning for 2008, according to Glen Lavy, Alliance
Defense Fund senior counsel. An Arizona-based religious liberty advocacy group,
Alliance Defense Fund maintains DOMAwatch.org, an informational website on
Defense of Marriage Acts (see graphic).
Spokesmen for national homosexual
advocacy groups downplayed their 2006 referendum defeats and highlighted their
election gains. They predicted they would win “hearts and minds” by increased
on-message visibility in courts, state capitals and within communities.
“Family Pride will continue to tell
the stories of families all across this country who face the extra challenge
and burden of being a same-sex couple raising children,” said Jennifer
Chrisler, a Washington, D.C.- based group whose public
relations methods include hosting house parties and training speakers.
Meanwhile, a new document from the
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stresses the need for Catholics to receive
clear and orthodox instruction on God’s gift of human sexuality. “Ministry to
Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care,” issued
Nov. 14, points out that everyone is called to live chastely.
“In addition to the legislative
efforts to prevent the legalization of same-sex ‘marriages,’ we need to take a
good, hard look at heterosexual marriage,” said Pia de Solenni, a moral
theologian in Washington, D.C. In a recent interview she noted the widespread
acceptance of contraception and no-fault divorce, concluding, “If we want to
maintain the integrity of marriage, then we have to live it.”
Gail Besse is based
in Boston, Massachusetts.