Approximately 300 supporters gathered May 8 in Raleigh to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) on the same day that nine same-sex couples took part in protests to reverse the amendment which affirmed voters’ belief in marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
“Make no mistake. Gay activists are not simply asking for marriage equality, as they claim,” said Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, to the crowd gathered on the old Capitol grounds in Raleigh. “What they want is a new national policy that legally declares that gender is irrelevant to marriage – that gender is irrelevant to the raising of children. And a policy of that kind turns nature itself on its head.”
He was among half dozen or so speakers who called on Christians to remain strong in their stand for biblical marriage even in the face of lawsuits and bullying.
“It is not hatred to agree with the God of the Bible,” said Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of Upper Room Church of God in Christ of Raleigh. “It’s just right.”
BR photo by K. Allan Blume
Mark Harris, Tami Fitzgerald, John Rustin, Mark Creech, Patrick Wooden and Steve Nobles participate in the May 8 event in Raleigh where Marriage Protection Amendment supporters gathered on the second anniversary of the passing of the amendment.
John Rustin, director of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, focused his remarks on the effects of same-sex marriage legalization in other states. Highlighting residents’ loss of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, he warned that defenders of the faith will ultimately face intense pressure “to submit, be silent or to stand.”
“We are not here merely to protect a word. We are here to honor and defend the God-ordained institution of marriage that serves as the building block of our culture and, folks, of our human existence,” he said.
Picking up where Rustin ended, Ron Baity, president of Return America, said, “Any nation that deviates from God’s acceptable marriage signs their own death warrant.”
He said there is “not one verse of scripture from Genesis to Revelation in which God looks with favoritism upon any other type of marriage.”
Tami Fitzgerald, director of the N.C. Values Coalition, gave a snapshot of the legal landscape of marriage in America, outlining the basis for three lawsuits pending against North Carolina’s Marriage Protection Amendment and reiterating the importance of a case set to be argued Tuesday before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia. She said 33 states have laws recognizing that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that of the 17 that have legalized same-sex marriage; only three have done so via the ballot box.
Fitzgerald told the crowd that even as they rallied for marriage, the Campaign for Southern Equality was leading an effort to bully registers of deeds by asking for illegal marriage licenses.
Just blocks away from the MPA celebration, three same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses at the Wake County Register of Deeds office, and six other same-sex couples had their out-of-state marriages recorded amid land records.
Laura Riddick, the county’s Register, issued a press release saying that her office “is not the proper forum for either a public policy debate or a political protest.”
Fitzgerald called the stunts a waste of taxpayer money and said the election of Mark Chilton in Orange County, who has promised to issue licenses to gay couples against state law, may lead to a test of the North Carolina statue that allows those who refuse to uphold the law to be removed from office.
Beyond the legal wrangling, Fitzgerald said the heart of the issue hasn’t changed.
“Our support for traditional marriage is not hatred for homosexuals. We are not anti-gay, we are pro marriage,” she said. “We can identify with the struggle against sin, but we cannot legalize it, sanctify it and celebrate it.”
Stressing that support for traditional marriage is “foundational to every civilization known to man,” Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte and founding member of Vote for Marriage NC, called on attendees to rebuild a strong America by electing leaders willing to stand and by being willing themselves to lead in their communities and churches.
Steve Noble, radio host for Called2Action Today, led the rally’s closing prayer asking the Lord to forgive “the times we have not prayed, the times we’ve chosen comfort over conflict and the times we’ve chosen popularity over truth.”
Creech said afterward that the event was a wonderful testimony to God’s mercy and protection and to the people of the great state of North Carolina who continue “to resist the madness of the current hour.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – L.A. Williams is a correspondent for the Christian Action League.)