A court ruling in Arizona has given the green light to plans for voters there to join voters in at least six other states this fall in deciding whether to protect traditional marriage or allow for new definitions of the age-old institution.
“The Arizona Supreme Court rightly understood that this amendment is a clear, straightforward proposition with one purpose, protecting marriage,” said Glen Lavy, the senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund and a key contributor to the arguments over the issue.
“Those seeking to redefine marriage unsuccessfully tried to evade the democratic process by misusing a technical provision of the state constitution,” he said. “Arizona voters deserve to have a say in the matter of marriage and will have the opportunity to do so.”
The recent decision makes Arizona the seventh state with a constitutional amendment to protect marriage planned for this fall’s ballot. Other states include Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin, and Colorado has a plan pending but it still needs final approval.
Officials note that of the 20 times voters have been given the opportunity to amend state constitutions to protect traditional marriage – that including one man and one woman only – they have done so. And they’ve done so by average margins of 70-30, officials said.
Besides the 20 states with constitutional amendments protecting the Biblical definition of marriage, another 28 states have such protections in their statutes, too, officials said.
“There is no reason to believe that Arizona voters will break the string of victories for traditional marriage,” Jerry Falwell wrote in his “Weekly Confidential” newsletter to The Moral Majority Coalition.
The court ruling specifically concluded that Arizona’s Proposition 107 does not violate the state constitution’s “single subject” rule. The ruling upheld an Aug. 10 decision from a Maricopa Count Superior court judge who said the proposed marriage amendment has just one purpose – to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman by preventing redefinitions and substitutes for marriage.
Falwell noted that at about the same time, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a motion by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking a new hearing on an earlier decision affirming Nebraska’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.
“The significance of these votes is clear: Americans, by large numbers, do not want to legally recognize same-sex marriage,” Falwell noted. He said in Arizona more than 300,000 people signed petitions to place the plan on the ballot, so there already are many ready to defend traditional marriage.
“I continue to believe we need a federal Marriage Protection Amendment,” Falwell wrote. “Such an amendment has twice fallen short of the required two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress.”
But he noted that Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, has introduced another proposal, this one involving only one sentence: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the legal union of one man and one woman.”
The federal Defense of Marriage Act was instituted to provide protection for Biblical marriage, but is being challenged in several states, according to Robert Knight, of the Culture & Family Institute of Concerned Women for America.
“Their strategy is to win the ‘right to marry’ in several state courts before they make a head-on challenge in federal courts,” said Jan Larue, chief counsel for the CWFA.
But even an ominous decision in Massachusetts didn’t provide that victory because the state law there limits same-sex marriage to participants who live in the state, she said.
“We are confident that Arizonans will adopt Proposition 107 in order to protect marriage for what it is – a unique union between one man and one woman,” added Lavy.
Mona Passignano, the state issues analyst of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family Action earlier told WorldNetDaily that the “gay” marriage proponents consistently run up against a major hurdle: most people actually want to protect marriage.
She said their campaign this year will be to confuse voters. In Colorado, for example, there are expected to be as many as four ballot initiatives addressing marriage or civil unions.
“The campaign in Colorado already is to confuse the voters. The more confusion, the better the chance (for same-sex marriage being endorsed),” she said. “It’s not exactly a new campaign, it’s exactly the strategy that unfolded in Texas last year.”
During that battle, same-sex marriage supporters actually “tried to get people to vote against the marriage amendment by pretending they were from the attorney general’s office and telling people they were going to nullify actual marriages with their vote,” Passignano said. Senior citizens, especially, were targeted.
The salvation of the Texas amendment came from Christian pastors, she said.
“What’s going to be the key is church participation,” she said. “The IRS has said pastors have the right to talk about that, despite what we commonly hear, because it is a nonpartisan ballot issue. Pastors can talk about it all they want.”