Voters Protect Marriage
BILLINGS, Mont. — On Election Day, when voters in Montana and 10 other states said marriage must remain between a man and a woman, many were surprised.
Donna Petriccione wasn't.
When she moved to Billings from northern California, she thought she was leaving homosexual activism behind. She was soon disappointed.
“We have sanctioned gay activism in the public schools here,” said Petriccione, a Catholic who works at Emmaus Road Catholic Bookstore. “My daughter at West High School was invited to go to a gay-heterosexual club that's organized so that everyone gets to know and understand each other.”
She voted on Election Day because she wanted to make sure that American childrenwon't be forced to view homosexual relationships as normal — and equal to heterosexual marriages between women and men.
By overwhelming margins, voters approved similar measures in 11 states: Oregon, Georgia, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio and Utah.
About one-fifth of American voters were able to cast a ballot on the issue, and the margins of approval ranged from 57% in Oregon to 86% in Mississippi, with most favorable percentages in the mid-70s.
Missouri and Louisiana approved same-sex “marriage” bans earlierthis year, but the Louisiana amendment was struck down on technicalities by a state court.
“The family needs to be protected, and homosexual ‘marriages’ are a threat to the institution of marriage and to families as God intended them,”Petriccione said, explaining why she voted for the Montana law. “It's not that Iam prejudiced against gays, and I'm actually very compassionate toward them. But threatsto the traditional institution of marriage are everywhere, and this is one of the biggest.”
The same-sex ‘marriage’ bans have invigorated Catholics and others workingfor the Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would recognize marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The amendment would allow states to continue deciding whether to recognize homosexual relationships, such as through a civil union. It would also let states decide whether companies can extend benefits, such as health insurance and Social Security proceeds, to homosexual partners of employees.
Matt Daniels, a lawyer and founder of the Alliance for Marriage, said the decisive victories of same-sex ‘marriage’ bans means the Federal Marriage Amendment islikely tobe ratified by the states if it gets through Congress.
“People in this country deeply believe that kids do best with a mom and a dad, and that's why these measures passed so decisively,” said Daniels, whose organizationdeveloped the Federal Marriage Amendment. “Americans want their own childrenand grandchildren to experience the blessings of life in an intact family. They want our laws tosend a positive message to kids about marriage, family and their future.”
Though Daniels celebrated the 11 victories, he cautioned that with no Federal Marriage Amendment, they'll crumble under judicial attack.
“The bad news is that all of these new laws will be struck down in federalcourt,” Daniels said.
Indeed, on Nov. 4, just two days after the election, a lawsuit was filed in federal court to challenge Oklahoma's “Defense of Marriage” initiative.
“The forces behind these federal lawsuits to force gay ‘marriage’ onus have no respect for democracy, and they despise public opinion on this issue,” Daniels said. “Without a constitutional amendment, this will be a repeat of the abortion crisis, with the entire issue being nationalized through the federal courts.”
Daniels said the forces that will work against the new state laws — and try to defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment — include the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization for Women, People for the American Way and “a panoply of gay-activist groups.” Daniels said he has nothing against homosexuals, and he urges peopleto act with tolerance toward them.
“But they do not have a right to force a re-definition of marriage on the entire society that depends on marriage and family as its fundamental, stabilizing institution,” Daniels said. “If our laws become fundamentally hostile to, or detached from,social reality — such as kids do best with a mom and a dad — then all of societywill suffer and pay a price.”
Daniels said the cost will come in the form of more social decay that has already resulted from the breakdown of the traditional family.
“We are paying with youth crime, violent crime, childhood poverty and welfare dependency,” Daniels said. “Further destruction of family, with the destruction of traditional marriage, will come with far greater costs. Furthermore, we will face legaland social marginalization, and eventually persecution, as laws become hostile to social realityand to the teachings of the faith.”
Won't Give Up
The 11 pro-traditional-marriage amendments were a blow to activists who thought they had made substantial progress toward mainstreaming the idea of homosexual ‘marriage’ in the past 20 years.
“I think it's very sad that people in 11 states want to have second-class citizens in this country,” said Matthew Gallagher, who heads DignityUSA,an organization in Washington, D.C., that advocates for greater acceptance of homosexual, bisexual and transgender people in the Catholic Church. “The 11 new state laws are a step backfor the entire country.”
Gallagher, a Catholic who attended Catholic schools from first grade through college, was a professed brother and Carmelite seminarian in New York who dropped out just before taking his final vows. He said he was openly homosexual in the seminary and looks forward to the day he marries a man.
“When I find Mr. Right, we will have a religious ceremony and a civil ceremony — if it's allowed,” Gallagher said.
But Catholic teaching argues forcefully that homosexual “marriage” is impossible. Furthermore, “When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it,” says the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “To vote in favor of a law so harmful tothe common good is gravely immoral” (Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, No. 10).
Gallagher and his organization of 2,500 members argue that the U.S. bishops —who officially back the Federal Marriage Amendment — should stop supporting the push for federal and state laws that would preclude him and other homosexuals from marrying. Galagher said it's one thing for the Church to discriminate, because it's a private organization. It's another issue entirely, he said, for the government to treat homosexuals differently from heterosexuals.
“Instead of spending money to fight against equal rights for Americans, wewant the bishops to spend the money to tell the truth and also to protect our children from thechild abuse that goes on by bishops and priests,” Gallagher said.
But the John Jay study of sex abuse by clergy found that 80% of it was homosexual in nature — an indication that homosexuality, not holy orders, is at fault. From the Village People song “YMCA” to the Showtime television show “Queer as Folk,”homosexual culture has long celebrated sex with teens. In The Gay Report, by homosexual researchers Karla Jay and Allen Young, the authors report data showing that 73% of homosexuals surveyed had at some time had sex with boys 16 to 19 years of age or younger.
Gallagher said the new laws, and the Federal Marriage Amendment, would hurt children who are adopted by same-sex couples. He said the laws would make it difficult for homosexuals to will property to their children, or to extend health-insurance benefits to them.
“There are dozens and dozens of other false arguments put forth by those who are working hard to destroy the institution of marriage,” Daniels countered. “It's not about benefits, and it never will be. It's about marriage. The second sentence of our amendment says to leave in place the existing authority of state legislatures over benefits.”
Wayne Laugesen writes from Boulder, Colorado.
- November 14-20, 2004