Directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina joined the battle for a marriage amendment to the state constitution during their meeting at Caraway Conference Center Jan. 27-28.
Directors affirmed efforts of the NC4Marriage coalition to pass an amendment to the North Carolina constitution that defines marriage as between “one man and one woman” exclusively. North Carolina currently is the only southeastern state without such “defense of marriage” language in its constitution.
Fearing that “activist judges” would render current state statutes unconstitutional that already define marriage as between a man and a woman, and that prohibit same sex marriage, NC4Marriage is lobbying the legislature hard to put such language into the constitution. That would prevent any judge from declaring such statutes “unconstitutional.”
NC4Marriage efforts would also “settle” the definition of marriage and would prohibit legal recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships.
The North Carolina Baptist board affirmed their efforts by endorsing a proposal brought by the Council on Christian Life and Public Affairs, following presentations by NC4Marriage Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald first to the council, then to the full board.
Board President Allan Blume told directors that their action “does not say we are speaking on behalf of all the Convention. It is the board’s position.”
“Yet in spirit it does represent the churches and will be interpreted as such by most media and churches,” Blume acknowledged.
Fitzgerald appealed to the board for its endorsement, for the “support of your churches,” and for contributions.
She also encouraged board members to support “marriage Sunday” Feb. 22 and to rally with others in Raleigh in support of the amendment at 11 a.m. March 3.
Wording of the proposed amendment says, “Marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”
By passing such an amendment to the constitution, “the definition of marriage would be settled,” Fitzgerald said.
The board’s affirmation came by unanimous passage of a statement that said: “The Council on Christian Life and Public Affairs asks the board of directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina to join us in a public affirmation of marriage by offering our full public support to the NC4Marriage Coalition in their efforts to pass a constitutional marriage amendment in our state.”
Fitzgerald warned of dire consequences if homosexual couples in North Carolina who have been married in a state that recognizes such unions were to challenge the North Carolina statutes in court. She said “activist judges” have undone “the will of the people” in this matter by declaring statutes such as North Carolina’s to be unconstitutional in other states.
She said already in November opponents to such an amendment organized rallies in seven North Carolina cities, including one in Raleigh that drew 400, to protest the passage of a similar amendment in California, the infamous Proposition 8.
Failure to pass such an amendment, she told board members, could result in homosexuality being taught in schools as normal and acceptable; a redefinition of family; a “shrinking population and a diminished work force;” rising healthcare costs from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. She said failure could threaten religious liberty and freedom of speech; eliminate the rights of pastors to preach from God’s word about homosexual sin and eliminate the right of churches to marry only heterosexual couples.
Thirty states have passed defense of marriage amendments as of Nov. 4, 2008, Fitzgerald said. North Carolina is alone in the southeast with no such amendment. Such amendments have passed in states that have them with 74 percent of the vote.
“Churches are the key to getting the marriage amendment passed,” Fitzgerald said.