By J. Gerald Harris, Editor, Christian Index
Published November 18, 2004
Mississippi had 86 percent of voters approve its proposed marriage amendment. Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah also registered their approval of a Marriage Amendment at the voting booth Nov. 2nd.
Baptist Press reported that Ohio, the state which ended up deciding the race for the presidency, voted by a margin of 62-38 percent to ban same-sex marriage. The Ohio constitutional amendment apparently brought out thousands of Christian voters who either had never or rarely voted. Presumably, the vast majority of these voters who were inspired to cast their ballots for traditional marriage also voted for George Bush and gave him the edge in the bid for another four years in the White House.
Eighty-three percent of the counties in Georgia voted for the president and all the counties in the state approved the Marriage Amendment.
Although Georgia Baptists rejoice in the monumental support for the amendment, most believe that it is tragic that we have come to the place in our society that such a vote is needed in order to affirm the Biblical definition of marriage.
Bartow Association's missionary, Stan Wilkins, exclaimed, "We live in confusing and uncertain times, and indeed troubling times, that a vote has to be taken regarding God's standard for marriage. Yet I am grateful that the Spirit of God has orchestrated an affirmation of traditional marriage by such a convincing vote.
"This ratifies the inherent ideal for an orderly society and healthy family life."
Noah Webster, a contemporary of the founding fathers of our nation, has an 1828 dictionary which defines marriage as, "The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life."
The foreword in the aforementioned dictionary states: "Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary remains today the pure repository of three essential ingredients of America's Christian History. It reflects our Christian philosophy of life, our Christian philosophy of government, and our Christian philosophy of education."
A moral compass
"I was thrilled with Georgia voters' response to the marriage amendment," stated J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention. "The vote was so strong that a clear signal was sent regarding how Georgians feel about marriage being between a man and a woman.
"For some time now, there has been an effort in our country to recalibrate our moral compass," White added. "I was so thankful to see those of moral conviction taking a firm stand. As Southern Baptists who are focused on building Kingdom families we should rejoice in this positive direction."
Ray Newman, Georgia Baptists' specialist in Ethics and Public Affairs, declared, "A clear resounding message was sent by the people of Georgia as they voted for the marriage amendment. They voted for what they wanted to say about marriage by agreeing that it is the union of a man and a woman. We know the message was received as we carried all 159 counties in our state in support of the marriage amendment."
On June 27 Newman launched a website, www.marriageamendmentvoteyes.com, in support of traditional marriage. The site has offered up-to-date information on news regarding support for the amendment, offered voter registration information and encouraged people to vote. By the time of the November election, the site had received more than 43,000 visits.
Through Newman's efforts radio announcements supporting the marriage amendment were developed and played on more than 100 stations across the state using the Georgia News Network. Television advertisements were used in three markets: WSB in Atlanta, WRLB in Columbus, and WSAV in Savannah.
Promotional materials, including 1,000 bulletin inserts, 10,000 posters, and 1,000 yard signs were distributed. Additionally, information supporting the amendment was provided to all Baptist associations and the 3,500 GBC churches, from McCaysville in the north to St. George in the south.
Last week, a court challenge to the amendment was filed. However, many think it would be political suicide for elected jurists to presume to overrule the obvious wishes of the overwhelming majority of voters.
Wayne Robertson, pastor of Morningside Baptist Church in Valdosta, remarked, "There always seems to be a radical element who want to challenge anything in the courts, but with eleven states voting overwhelmingly that marriage is to be between a man and a woman, any judge that attempts to overthrow the wishes of the people will do it to his/her own political peril."
Newman exhorts, "We must pray! Stay informed! Never let up as we move forward with our stand on moral issues."
The vote percentage and the state amendments were:
North Dakota, 73-27