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Top Stories of 2004: Defense of Traditional Marriage Spreading Across the Map

by Allie Martin
December 29, 2004

(AgapePress) - A group of young adults is touring the nation encouraging people to vote in favor of traditional marriage state amendments in the upcoming election.

Voters in almost a dozen states will have the opportunity this fall to decide if they want to amend their state constitutions to protect marriage as the union as a man and a woman. Eight members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, or TFP, are touring five of those states -- Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. They are holding informational rallies in downtown areas, handing out flyers and discussing traditional marriage with people on the street.

TFP spokesman John Ritchie says they are discovering that many people are not familiar with state amendments on the issue. "That's a positive thing when we're able to speak to people who don't know and to let them know that there will be an amendment, that they have a chance to vote 'yes' and make a difference," he says, "because at that point every vote counts."

Not everyone is happy to see the TFP representatives. According to Ritchie, the reaction was less than favorable when they visited the University of Louisville last week. He says some people there were upset with what his group was doing.

"We were on the public sidewalk [and] they called the police," he recalls, "and the police verified that everything we were doing was legal and peaceful." Ritchie reports his group stayed, but later encountered more resistance. "Some of the university officials called the police again, and they actually came out to where we were. They came out of their offices and they tried to stop us."

The TFP is a Catholic organization headquartered in Pennsylvania. The group's five-state tour continues through next week.

The Battle in Connecticut
Meanwhile, pro-family groups in Connecticut -- the ninth state to enter the battle for homosexual "marriage" -- are trying to uphold that state's marriage laws. The Family Institute of Connecticut (FIC) has filed a motion to intervene in a civil lawsuit brought by seven same-sex couples after they were denied their "right" to receive marriage licenses by the state.

Vince McCarthy, an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice, is representing the FIC. "We are opposed to [same-sex marriage], both at the ACLJ and the Family Institute of Connecticut, for a number of reasons," the attorney says. "But most importantly, we're opposed to it because we feel it's bad for children."

The seven couples who brought the suit claim their constitutional rights were violated. But McCarthy says the case is not about constitutional rights.

"They're claiming it's about constitutional rights, but we don't believe there's any constitutional right for members of the same-sex to get married," McCarthy says. "Traditional marriage, which is one man-one woman, has been traced all the way back to Hammurabi's Code, which was [written] 4,000 years ago -- and this is how we have built our culture, how we've passed on our cultural values to our children."

The ACLJ attorney says the battle over marriage in Connecticut highlights the need for a Federal Marriage Amendment.

Dobson in So. Dakota
Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family Action took his election-year defense of traditional marriage to a recent Christian music festival in South Dakota. Dobson told the crowd of 50,000 at the Lifelight Christian Festival that America is suffering a "moral meltdown" because un-elected judges are legalizing homosexual "marriage."

"There is what's called a 'civil war of values,'" he said. "We're divided as a nation -- and everything that we find in the Scripture, all those principles, all those ideas, are being challenged. The institution of the family -- and especially the definition of marriage -- is in the crosshairs."

The well-known family advocate also told the crowd in Sioux Falls they can outvote the "MTV crowd." Christian music fans, he said, should not only register and vote, they need to do one more thing as well: pray.

"We're at a crossroads," Dobson said. "We're in the midst of a moral meltdown in this country, and we are tipping one way or the other -- and whichever direction we go right now will determine the world for you and your future and your families."

Dobson said it is essential this year to vote for candidates who uphold what he called "the Christian principles on which this country is based."

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