Dear Marriage Supporter,
It's been another busy week in the fight to preserve marriage. There have been some fast and furious developments in the efforts to pass Indiana's marriage amendment (HJR3). And nationwide, citizens and civic leaders alike have been standing up to defend the principle of states' sovereignty against the perilous danger posed to it by the movement to redefine marriage.
First, let me catch you up on Indiana.
Indianapolis' Other Speedway
The developments in the Indiana legislature this week have been fast and furious, and our allies on the ground report changing indications by the hour. It's safe to say that the battle there has reached a crucial juncture this week.
The Indiana House of Representatives passed HJR3, but not before stripping a critical piece of the amendment language from the resolution.
Now the matter is headed into the Senate, and the matter is not as simple as just "passing HJR3." We are working to send the message to the Indiana Senate that yes — they must pass HJR3... but... they must pass it in its original form, with the language removed by the House restored to its proper place.
This way, the measure will return to the House for a vote on the original, unaltered resolution, and we can hope to pass HJR3 so that Hoosier voters can voice their values about marriage at the ballot box in November 2014.
If you know anyone who lives in Indiana, please share this critical action alert with them so that we can get as many grassroots activists as possible calling the Senate to urge support and passage of HJR3!
We need ordinary citizens to stand up in unison and in force to voice their support for marriage, and to demand their rights be respected and upheld by their elected officials!
Which, by the way, was exactly what I was privileged to witness first-hand in Utah earlier this week...
Utah Standing for Marriage
I was honored, on Tuesday, to be able to join hundreds of pro-marriage supporters at the Salt Lake City Capitol Rotunda for a wonderful rally supporting Utah's marriage amendment.
The turnout was great, and I take my hat off to the organizers who did such a fantastic job pulling the event together. But even more so, I owe high praise to the many wonderful Utah citizens I saw there who came out to express their pro-marriage views and who did so with such positivity, kindness, and dignity.
In his "State of the State" address the following day, Governor Gary Herbert stressed how important those elements are to a healthy public discourse, saying that he wished for Utah to "be a model of how to work through honest disagreements with civility and respect."
Well, of course Governor Herbert is right, and I can honestly say from what I saw on Tuesday that pro-marriage Utahans are already fulfilling that wish. Here are some pictures I took with my phone at the event and tweeted. (By the way, if you don't already, you can follow me on Twitter here.)
Unfortunately, the Governor's wish for civility and respect hasn't yet been totally achieved. In the midst of the rally there was one same-sex 'marriage' protestor who decided that the fitting way to express himself was with a sign showing a Cross with a "no sign" over it.
Sadly, this kind of bigotry and intolerance toward Christians and other people of faith is something I encounter rather frequently as I travel throughout the country.
Nevertheless, in spite of that unfortunate example, the rally was a heartwarming and inspiring event overall. The people of Utah know that in addition to marriage there are other matters at stake in the legal battle over their marriage amendment — especially in light of the federal interference in the matter from Attorney General Holder who is trying to undermine Utah's own government.
What's at stake, as Governor Herbert also expressed in his address, is Utah's state sovereignty. As Governor Herbert said:
James Madison, the father of our Constitution, said: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite."
Unfortunately, our nation has strayed from what our founding fathers intended. Whether the issue is marriage, Medicaid or management of our public lands, our right to find Utah solutions to Utah issues is being hindered by federal overreach.
In Utah, we understand state sovereignty, and we will do everything in our power to represent the will of the people while respecting the democratic and judicial processes.
Fortunately, in addition to the great and wonderful folks in Utah, other brave men and women are standing up to protect states' sovereignty as well, especially as regards the issue of marriage.
One such brave leader is Representative Randy Weber of Texas, whose recently-introduced bill, the State Marriage Defense Act, is back in the news this week.
The States of the Union
Congressman Weber's bill has garnered nearly 40 co-sponsors, and in addition to NOM's endorsement enjoys support from Family Research Council, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Heritage Action, Concerned Women for America, and others!
The latest article on the bill quotes NOM's friend, Ryan Anderson, explaining the bill this way:
[The law would protect] the sovereign authority of states to recognize marriage as they see fit. It does not say what marriage has to be defined as in any particular state. I do think the Justice Department's decision to ignore the Utah law highlights the need for this law.
And, as the same article notes, there are other recent events that underscore why this law is important, such as Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's recent egregious refusal to defend — and decision instead to join in attacking — that state's marriage amendment! (On the basis of which decision, NOM believes Herring should be impeached. And we're not the only ones.)
This issue couldn't be more timely.
The same night I was in Utah rallying with the citizens there for their state sovereignty and the rights of voters, President Obama took the podium in front of Congress to deliver his State of the Union address. And the main resounding theme of that address was what might be referred to as the "pen and the phone" theme (referring to a talking point the White House had been parroting for weeks leading up to the address).
The President is willing to "use his pen and his phone" to make his agenda move, with or without Congress: to use executive powers to force by fiat the pet policies he wants to push on the nation.
Think about that, and consider: we've all seen how same-sex 'marriage' is one of those pet policies for this President (who even invited as one of his honored guests a gay athlete simply because he had "come out" last year). Therefore, we should not take it lightly that the President is expressing his willingness and desire to be even more imperious and even more overreaching in his authority for the remainder of his term!
So please contact Congress right away and urge support for Representative Weber's "State Marriage Defense Act," to protect against overreaching by the Federal government and to help ensure the rights of states and their voters to define marriage according to their values!
Thank you, as always, for continuing to stand in defense of marriage even when it is such a fast and furious affair. Together, we can run this race strong to the finish.
Brian S. Brown
P.S.: A big thanks to everyone who responded so quickly to yesterday's 24 hour opportunity of a $5,000 matching campaign! Hundreds of you responded, giving what you could, and your $5, $15, and $25 gifts made a big difference — we made our goal. With the matching gift secured, this means $10,000 to help the cause of marriage at this critical time. I can't thank you enough!
P.P.S.: It will soon be time to celebrate National Marriage Week! Click here to find out more about this great event — part of Chuck Stetson's "Let's Strengthen Marriage" campaign — and to find out how you can participate or help.