Wisconsin Conservatives Gear Up For Marriage Vote with 'Celebration'

Conservatives in Wisconsin are gearing up for the critical November vote on the state’s Marriage Protection Amendment with a “Celebration of Marriage” on Thursday.

“A Celebration of Marriage – One Man and One Woman for Life” features guest speaker Dr. Allan Carlson, President of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society. Organizers hope that the Oct. 26 gathering may attract other high-profile representatives including Mark Gundrum, author of the amendment, and James Doyle, candidate for Wisconsin Governor.

The event comes ahead of the Nov. 7 vote on the marriage amendment in Wisconsin – one of eight states voting on the issue next month. Analysts say the passage of an amendment banning gay “marriage” is certain in Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee, but unresolved in Arizona, Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin.

According to Mike Tate, the campaign chief for the pro-gay marriage group Fair Wisconsin, his state may become the first where traditional marriage is overturned at the polls.

"This could be the state where we beat this thing," Tate said to the Associated Press. "I'm not saying it's easy, but we've got the right ingredients on the table.”

Tate believes the issue – which helped motivate conservative voters in 2004 - is no longer fueling the same urgency, possibly diminishing conservative turnout.

However, Julaine Appling of Vote Yes for Marriage says rejection of traditional marriage is unlikely in any state.

"It's a gross misunderstanding of the people of Wisconsin," she said. "They are good solid stock. They understand that marriage is a good public institution - it's appropriate to protect it as the union of a man and a woman exclusively.”

Earlier this month, the Wisconsin branch of the Church of God in Christ passed a resolution in support of the Marriage Protection Amendment, affirming that the issue still looms as a high priority in many churches.

“Simply put, we don’t need the foundational institution of marriage redefined; we need it reinforced and reinvigorated…and this marriage amendment is our opportunity to do just that here in Wisconsin,” said Bishop Sedgwick Daniels of COGIC’s First Wisconsin Jurisdiction. “This is not a political issue; it is a moral issue, which makes it imperative that the church speak out clearly.”

Already more than 100 pastors in Wisconsin have signed onto a “pastor’s pledge” supporting traditional marriage with the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin – the sponsors of this week’s Celebration of Marriage event.