"Churches in Maryland have shown that when congregants make their voices heard, lawmakers will listen." -- IRD Vice President Alan Wisdom
Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, jwalton@TheIRD.org
WASHINGTON, March 15, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- On Friday, legislators in Maryland voted to return a bill to committee that would have established same-sex marriage in the state, effectively tabling the legislation until 2012. Members of the Maryland House of Delegates cited the activism of churches, especially in the African American and Hispanic communities, as key to halting the momentum behind the legislation.
The Washington Post credited the "last-minute push" from black clergy in Prince George's County, with personal lobbying visits to delegates' offices and calls from the pulpit for parishioners to "Fight for the Family," generating hundreds of visits and thousands of emails, phone calls, and faxes. The Post reported that phone calls ran as high as 25 to 1 against the bill in some delegates' offices.
Separately, a national coalition of church leaders including evangelicals, Pentecostals, Catholics, and others has written U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, encouraging legal intervention to uphold the constitutionality of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which the U.S. Department of Justice has declined to defend. It appears that the House will intervene, as the church leaders had requested.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy has published a paper "Is Marriage Worth Defending?" that makes the case for the crucial role traditional marriage plays in civil society. It is available free for download at www.TheIRD.org, and author Alan Wisdom is available for media interviews.
IRD Vice President Alan Wisdom commented:
"Churches in Maryland have shown that when congregants make their voices heard, lawmakers will listen. Once again we have seen that, independent of judicial fiat, same-sex marriage is rejected by voters and lawmakers.
"Same-sex marriage proponents have dismissed opposition to homosexual unions as driven by fear. On the contrary, many people support the marriage of man and woman because of a positive belief in its unique value as a building block of human society.
"Arguments for same-sex marriage view history as a straight-line narrative pointing towards ever greater sexual autonomy. Many Christian churches, however, note that history oscillates between license and responsibility.
"Placed in historical context, same-sex marriage is an anomaly embraced by a small fraction of the world’s population, not an inevitability as proponents suggest."