Dear Marriage Supporter,
I'm sure that many of us in the pro-marriage movement have felt a little discouraged the past few days. There's no sugar-coating the fact that the cause of true marriage has suffered some setbacks.
While these defeats were extremely close despite multi-million dollar funding gaps, and came in states with political situations practically ideal for our opposition, they still sting.
Nevertheless, in the midst of those gathering clouds, rays of light have poked through to remind us of the truth and righteousness of our cause, as well as of the great value there is in standing courageously upon principle. These inspirational examples give us hope moving forward, and reflecting on them today there's one theme that unites them: the virtue of integrity.
We've seen some powerful examples of what integrity looks like this week these past few days; but we've also seen, in contrast, what it looks like when integrity is abandoned or ignored.
What Integrity Does Not Look Like
In Illinois this week, same-sex 'marriage' barely passed in the House after a multi-million dollar campaign by national gay 'marriage' activists and shady procedural dealings to lower the required vote count from 71 to 60. And the final passage came despite powerful outcry from leaders in the community against the legislation —most notably, from religious leaders within the black community.
Most shocking in the Illinois vote was the betrayal of the former Republican leader in the House, Tom Cross, who was one of the three GOP members to vote for the bill in the lower chamber. Cross was probably pressured heavily by former GOP state chairman Pat Brady who has been working with the same-sex 'marriage' lobby in Illinois to force this bill through. Cross is currently running for state treasurer, and he had previously secured endorsements on the basis of being pro-marriage!
Cross's name couldn't be more fitting: he's double-crossed his constituents, supporters, donors, and party in voting to force the radical agenda of same-sex 'marriage' on the state of Illinois, and he must be held accountable. We'll be working to ensure that Cross answers for his lack of integrity.
In the federal legislature, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA) passed the Senate this week with the support of nine Republican Senators: Ayotte, Collins, Flake, Hatch, Heller, Kirk, McCain, Murkowski, and Toomey. This last Senator, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, had offered amendments to the bill for providing religious exemptions and conscience protections. But even when these amendments (which weren't sufficient by a long shot) were rejected, Toomey still voted to pass ENDA!
And finally this week, in the state of Virginia, the people very narrowly elected Terry McAuliffe to the office of Governor. We're on the theme of 'lacking integrity' but to say McAuliffe lacks any integrity whatsoever would be merely stating the obvious. That's not what I want to comment on here.
What shocked me was the news from the Cuccinelli campaign after the race of how the Republican Party abandoned the candidate in the last crucial weeks of the race!
Cuccinelli's performance on Tuesday was nothing short of brilliant. Given how far behind he'd been in the polls for so long, and a fundraising deficit that left his opponent with more than a 10-to-1 advantage in the last month of the campaign, the fact that Cuccinelli came within a hair's breadth of beating McAuliffe should make everyone sit up and take notice — both Democrat and Republican alike.
But it should especially catch the attention of the Republicans who retreated from Cuccinelli and refused to back this pro-family, pro-life, true conservative candidate because they traded in their integrity for the political 'wisdom' of the Karl Rove-type pundits and strategists who keep leading the Republican party down dead-end streets.
It's a shame for Virginia that they didn't get the leader they need — Ken Cuccinelli, a man of integrity. That's what we all need: leaders with integrity to stand up on principle and help make our country great again.
And while it sometimes seems hard to find examples of such leaders, we did see glimpses over the past several days that should give us hope.
What Integrity Does Looks Like
Besides the integrity of Ken Cuccinelli, we saw another profile in courage this week from Ashville, NC.
The 95-year-old Reverend Billy Graham attended a televised birthday celebration in Ashville last night, during which a final video-recorded message was aired: what is being called his 'final sermon.' The video entitled My Hope America can be seen at FoxNews.com here. Rev. Graham's principled stand for marriage in North Carolina last year — indeed, his very life of integrity and witness — is an inspiration… and no one should take his message for America lightly as it is founded in so many years of prayer and wisdom.
Another leader who acted with integrity this week is the Speaker of the House, Representative John Boehner. Even ahead of the Senate's passage of ENDA, Boehner took a strong and principled stand against the bill and announced that the legislation would not be moving forward in the House. We applaud the Speaker and hope that more leaders in the House will speak out against this egregiously flawed legislation that the Senate has rammed through.
Another image of integrity came to us from Hawaii. While the legislature there is battling to pass same-sex marriage, literally thousands upon thousands of pro-marriage supporters have poured out in protest to make their voices heard. Over 5,000 individuals submitted testimony to the Hawaii House of Representatives, most in opposition to the bill. And several thousands of others have stood vigil outside the Capitol praying that their elected officials will listen to their constituents.
One Representative is doing just that: state Democratic Representative Georgia "Jo" Jordan is an openly gay lawmaker in Hawaii. And she is voting against same-sex marriage. She says the reasons for her opposition are concerns about the use of a special session to force this issue through, and her desire to better understand the consequences of redefining marriage.
Despite being called "Judas" in the gay press (along with suffering some other malignant and tasteless personal attacks) she is doing the right thing to express concerns about the many examples of punishment that people have suffered when marriage has been redefined elsewhere. Legal scholars on both sides of the issue brought this to the attention of all lawmakers, and it’s gratifying that Rep. Jordan is examining those concerns.
I don't know what Jordan will do in the future with respect to this issue. She is under tremendous pressure from gay activists and we should hold her in prayer. But whatever her final vote, the fact that she has acknowledged as legitimate the concerns many people have about the consequences of redefining marriage is an example of the kind of public servants we need more of in this country: elected officials who are willing to critically examine the issues without counting the cost and without worrying about being maligned and vilified by small-minded individuals who have no respect for the democratic process.
Finally, a profile in integrity that deserves mention above all is one that is very close to our hearts: NOM's own Tom Peters.
Last Friday, Tom shared with me some reflections on his injury and on-going recovery and asked if I would share with all of you. I had them posted to the NOM blog right away, but I wanted to mention Tom's reflections here in case you missed them.
For my own part, I won't say anything more about Tom and his remarkable courage and integrity here: I'll let you read his words, which speak for themselves.
With that as inspiration moving forward, we go back into the fray, standing together and knowing the value of individuals standing up in integrity and courage. Let us all pray for one another that we may continue to have the integrity and strength we need in this fight.
Brian S. Brown
P.S. We have an enormous challenge ahead of us… to hold as many of these legislators who have sold out their constituents accountable as possible. But that is going to take a major effort and we need the resources necessary to ensure that the voices and values of marriage supporters like you and me are heard and make an impact! Won't you please make a donation of $25, $50, $100, $500 or whatever amount you can afford right away? Remember, thanks to our generous donor who launched our end-of-the-year matching gift campaign, every dollar you donate will be matched, dollar-for-dollar — DOUBLING the impact of your donation!