500 rally to support marriage amendment
By Allen Palmeri
May 11, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – The co-organizers of a May 3 marriage rally in the state Capitol rotunda were pleased when about 500 people turned out to affirm that a biblical view of marriage only includes a union between one man and one woman.
“It was so encouraging to see so many hundreds of Missourians come out on a Monday afternoon supporting marriage,” said Vicky Hartzler, spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri . “We were hoping and praying for 500, and I think we hit that goal.”
Bev Ehlen, legislative liaison for Missouri Concerned Women for America , said the marriage rally was as successful as the Nov. 22 rally for the Ten Commandments in the rotunda which drew around 1,000. More people may have come for that event because it was held on a Saturday.
“People who were working wanted to be here, but the place was full and they’re all visiting their state representatives and senators,” said Ehlen, a member of The Way Baptist Fellowship, a mission of Fellowship Baptist Church , Warrenton. “And then they had their marching orders. The idea is to go back home and to get it passed.”
The General Assembly is finalizing a resolution amending the Missouri Constitution to protect traditional marriage. Their work must be completed by May 14. Upon passage, the resolution then will go to the voters either on the August primary or the Nov. 2 general election ballot. The governor may choose to influence when the vote will take place, but he has no veto power. It is believed that Gov. Bob Holden favors the August primary date. Only voters will decide whether the resolution becomes law.
“All over the country, we’ve seen how activist judges want to undermine the will of the Legislature and the will of the people,” said Sen. Sarah Steelman, R-Rolla, who has championed the marriage amendment in the Senate. “That’s why in this state, we’re going to make it known that the will of the people is to have marriage defined as between only one man and one woman.”
Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, handled the House version of the resolution. He did so by steering clear of attacking homosexuals.
“We are defending the sanctity of marriage,” he said. “We are not condemning individual people. We have become a tolerant people, but let’s not confuse tolerance with capitulation to whatever they want to do.”
Frank Waitzmann, a member of First Baptist Church, Kearney, echoed Engler in his opposition to the homosexual agenda, which is advocating homosexual “marriage” as a foothold in moral combat.
“I think that it’s very critical in the history of our great country to acknowledge that this is not a civil rights issue, but more importantly, it’s an issue of protecting the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman,” Waitzmann said.
Barbara Campbell, a member of Sherwood Baptist Church, Webster Groves, agreed.
“We lose so much when we change marriage to something other than what God ordained,” Campbell said.
Jeff Purvis, pastor, Westport Community Church, St. Louis, and a member of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board, came to Jefferson City with a group of 15 people.
“We’re going to have a voter registration at our church,” Purvis said. “It’s really easy. It’s as easy as filling out an employment application.”
MBC Executive Director David Clippard said it is imperative that Missouri Baptist leaders, pastors and staff do whatever possible to get Christians registered to vote. Purvis said it is as easy as calling the county election office, getting the proper forms, laying them out on a table and mailing them in for people after they provide their information.
“It is legal to register your people to vote during the time they attend your churches,” Clippard said.
In an email sent out May 4, Clippard encouraged all MBC staffers everywhere that when they preach in the next six months “please exhort our people to register and vote.”
Hartzler said the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri is developing a grassroots strategy for the summer months. The coalition is in need of church coordinators and county coordinators. A church coordinator would help an active pastor like Purvis get out the vote. A county coordinator would identify churches that could be mobilized to vote.
“Working together, we will see victory in November,” Hartzler said, mentioning that if tradition holds true to form, the marriage resolution will be on the general election ballot.
Those wishing to help the coalition protect marriage can visit www.cpmm.net.