With same-sex marriage scheduled to be officially recognized in Washington State on Thursday, churches are banding together to overturn the law and win a battle that they believe they can't afford to lose.
"There is really no excuse for the Christian to sit back and do nothing," said Stephen Pidgeon, founder of DecaLogos International, on the Family Talk radio program Monday. "You must speak on behalf of the Kingdom. It's not just for you; it's for your children and your grandchildren."
Pidgeon is a lawyer and sponsor of I-1192, a ballot initiative that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. He and hundreds of pastors are collaborating (Protect Marriage Washington) to gather 240,000 signatures by July 6 in order to get the initiative on the November ballot.
"We're counting on the pastors to go to their congregations and say 'here is something that allows us to fight for the Word of God in our statutes. The church has an opportunity to stand for the Word of God, not to stand for politics or some side issue," he said.
He told Dr. James Dobson of Family Talk that pastors have been repenting for being silent in the pulpit on the issue of marriage.
Ken Hutcherson, senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Wash., said on the radio program that many pastors need to get a "spiritual backbone" when it comes to protecting traditional marriage.
"I call them 'evanjellyfish,'" the former pro-football player described. "If we can just get registered voters that are Christians, it's already done."
For Dobson, one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the country, the subject of gay marriage "puts a lump in my throat," he said.
He argued that legislators, courts and President Obama – who recently declared his support for gay marriage – "have no right to rip into the institution of marriage which has been foundational to the social order ... of all nations since the dawn of human kind."
Washington became the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage in February when Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law a bill approved by the state legislature.
Currently, another movement called Preserve Marriage Washington has collected more than 200,000 signatures to place Referendum 74 on the state ballot. Ref. 74 gives voters the chance to either uphold or reject the same-sex marriage law.
Both R-74 and I-1192 are critical, said Pidgeon.
"It's very important because of litigation issues," he told The Christian Post. "The problem is we are at war with a corrupt judiciary. They do not understand that this nation is justified by the laws of nature and nature's God and either we are a godly, lawful nation or we are a godless, lawless nation."
After 32 out of 32 states approved an amendment banning same-sex marriage, Pidgeon said they can't be the first state to break the streak.
"If this initiative (1192) fails here in Washington, for the first time it will appear that the people have cowered in the face of this movement and that the movement has gained a foothold, if you will," he warned.
Hutcherson also warned about the ramifications of legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington.
Washington, he pointed out, is the only state among those where gay marriage is legal that does not require residency for a couple to get married.
"Can you imagine the funnel of people that are going to come here to get married?" he posed.
Pidgeon and Hutcherson are hoping to collect the required number of signatures by Independence Day for I-1192. Meanwhile, those at Preserve Marriage Washington have gathered more than the 120,577 signatures needed by Wednesday for R-74.