Religious Left Strategizes on
Here is how those who oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment will state their case.
At a June 18 meeting of homosexual rights activist, opponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) revealed a strategy of utilizing liberal clergy to argue that the proposed amendment would limit the free exercise of religion. At the meeting, clergy from “progressive” Protestant denominations, along with one Reformed Jewish Rabbi claimed the proposed FMA might be used to ban them from performing ceremonies that bless same-sex unions.
Speakers at the meeting, sponsored by the left-leaning pressure group People for the American Way, made it clear that they intend to halt religious conservatives from co-opting the marriage issue. Rabbi Michael Namath even echoed some language used by traditional Christians when he referred to the family as the “fundamental institution of the society.”
Namath then turned such reasoning on its head by arguing that homosexual marriage could produce “families of loving gay and lesbian couples . . .capable of creating a nurturing environment for children.” One minister of the Disciples of Christ said his denomination’s opposition to the marriage amendment was based in part on their belief that it favors one religion over another. He also echoed a commonly heard theme saying that the definition of marriage should be determined by individual churches and local civil authorities and not the federal government. None of the participants acknowledged the growing possibility that the Federal Courts may eventually impose such unions on the entire nation.
The Federal Marriage Amendment, sponsored by Colorado Republican Sen. Wayne Allard, is set for a vote during the week of July 12 and consists of two sentences. “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”
Namath said the language is open to interpretation and poses a “serious threat to the free exercise of religion. . . . some warn that if the FMA is adopted, performing a religious wedding ceremony for same-sex couples might be unconstitutional and illegal.” He did not explain why clergy who currently perform same-sex “marriages” that are not recognized by civil law would suddenly be prohibited from continuing to perform such ceremonies by the FMA.
Meeting organizers also did their best to draw parallels between the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the drive to legalize same sex marriage. They distributed literature from several African-American, Hispanic and other civil rights organizations who oppose the marriage amendment. But several Congressional aides have said that the African-American population largely opposes gay marriage and many bitterly resent the civil rights analogy. Kenneth Samuel, a black preacher from Atlanta who spoke at the meeting, opposes the FMA but admitted that the marriage amendment is popular within the African-American community.