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Colson to NY Times: Gay Marriage Has Never Been a Constitutional Right

Charles Colson

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"The Federal Marriage Amendment must be supported."

An open letter to The New York Times, Senator Edward Kennedy and other opponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

We are appalled by criticism that the Federal Marriage Amendment, endorsed by the President, is -- as The New York Times asserted editorially -- "putting bias in the Constitution." Gay marriage has never been a constitutional right inor any other civilized nation. No one wants to "take away" some supposed right. It is the rogue judges who are trying to create a new right. When even one state creates "gay marriage," all states may be forced to recognize such marriages and only a constitutional amendment protects marriage in those other states.

It is because of the tyrannical actions of these unaccountable judges that a broad-based coalition of individuals and organizations -- evangelical Christians, Catholics (three cardinals and 28 bishops), Muslims, Jews, scholars from the nation's prestigious law schools -- have banded together to preserve the traditional meaning of marriage. It is a diverse group that includes leaders from the biggest association of Hispanic churches in theUnited States, North America's two largest orthodox Jewish groups and the nation's two largest African-American denominations. The coalition spokesman is Walter Fauntroy, who marched with Martin Luther King.

The charges of bias are especially galling in the light of the fact that 85 Senators and 342 Members of the House voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed by President Clinton. It contained the very same language, that marriage in the United Statesshall be between one man and one woman. Are all of these leaders, including former President Clinton, bigots? According to the polls, two-thirds of the American people oppose granting new rights for gay marriage--is that bigotry? Is it bigotry that the overwhelming majority of religious traditions support marriage as the union of one man and one woman?

We suggest that these personal attacks are being made to mask the real issues and distort the debate. It is not bigotry or intolerance to defend an institution every society has recognized as essential to its stable social order. It is indeed intolerance in the extreme to characterize those who defend that institution as bigots.

It is also disingenuous to argue, as some do, that they are opposed to gay marriage but oppose any constitutional amendment. It is now clear that the amendment is the only way to prevent court imposed gay marriage--or public officials recklessly disregarding the law granting licenses. Is it wrong to let the people vote? Do we not trust the people? Apparently The New York Times and others do not.

This is an issue of enormous consequence which must be debated with great deliberation and sensitivity. Name calling and screeching political rhetoric are beneath the dignity required for a thoughtful national conversation about an issue of great gravity.

We pledge ourselves not to engage in rhetoric that demeans others -- either for their sexual orientation or for religious beliefs that might differ from ours. We call on the editors of the Times, Sen. Kennedy and others who oppose this amendment to make the same commitment.

Read this article on the Breakpoint website.

Posted: 3/2/04

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