WASHINGTON With only about a month remaining before the Senate votes on an amendment protecting the traditional one-man, one-woman definition of marriage, dozens of influential Christian and Jewish leaders are joining hands to rally their constituents and their senators to action against what they call the ''suffering'' of the institution of marriage.
More than fifty top religious figures including Rick Warren, author of the best-selling Purpose Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church; Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship; James Dobson, Founder and Chairman of Focus on the Family; and Ted Haggard, President of the National Association of Evangelicals have joined the Religious Coalition for Marriage and its call for a constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage.
We are convinced that this is the only measure that will adequately protect marriage from those who would circumvent the legislative process and force a redefinition of it on the whole of our society, the statement signed by the leaders reads.
Gerald B. Kieschnick, president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and one of the letters signatories, explained that issues of marriage are critical because they deal with the fabric of our society.
From a Christian leadership perspective, I believe my speaking out also reflects the beliefs of the people of our Synod, Kieschnick said in an Apr. 28 news release.
The LCMS, like most of the denominations represented in the letter of endorsement, has also passed its own resolution affirming marriage on the basis of Scripture. Other denominations with similar resolutions include the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church in America, and the Church of God in Christ.
The congressional measure, S.J. Res. 1, is the second attempt at passing a national constitutional amendment on the definition of marriage. In 2004 Congress failed to pass a similar measure by a small margin. This years vote on the marriage protection amendment is slated for June 6, 2006.
The joint resolution, also known as the Marriage Protection Amendment, simply states that 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.
To be made into law, the amendment must pass both the House and the Senate by a two-thirds majority. It must also be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.