WASHINGTON Heads of pro-family organizations applauded the Senate Judiciary Committee for approving the Marriage Protection Amendment on Thursday, and continued rallying their supporters to get the amendment passed by the full Senate next month.
"I applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing the Marriage Protection Amendment which now goes before the full Senate on June 5th, Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council, wrote in a statement. This amendment will permit the American people an opportunity to rein in activist judges who have stripped the right of voters to protect marriage.
The Senate panel approved the proposal on party lines, giving the amendment a chance to face the Senate floor.
"The American people support protecting traditional marriage, and we should give this amendment due consideration through the full legislative process," said Republican Senator Sam Brownback.
"We must continue to fight for the protection of traditional marriage."
The amendment reads: 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.
Influential pro-family Christian leaders have led the charge against gay marriage in America, rallying their constituents to action since 2004 when Massachusetts became the first state to void state law and legalize homosexual unions. Conservatives say a national amendment would be the only way to protect traditional marriage from being re-defined by activist judges.
Earlier this year, the Family Research Council launched an online petition for the Marriage Protection Amendment. According to the groups website, 36,840 people have signed the petition as of May 19.
The petitions will be mailed to senators on the week before the scheduled floor vote on June 6. FRC expects 50,000 will give their mark of support by then.
Meanwhile, Donald Wildmon, founder and chairman of the ultra-conservative American Family Association, began calling on supporters to take action now by telling their local senators how to vote on the issue.
Time is short! It is critical that you contact your senators and ask them to vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA), Wildmon wrote in an Action Alert.
The future of our children is at stake.
A poll released in March showed 51 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage down from a high of 63 percent in 2004.
Supporters of gay marriage say legalized unions are the only way to give all citizens rights such as inheritance of property, immigration, or adoption.
Massachusetts is the only state that allows same-sex marriages, but Vermont and Connecticut allow same-sex couples to join in civil unions.
In Maryland, a judge found in January that the local law prohibiting gay marriage was unconstitutional, and the legality of same-sex marriage is also being challenged in Nebraska, California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Georgia.