Marriage Amendment vote Aug. 3
By Allen Palmeri
June 8, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – The June 2 Missouri Supreme Court ruling that resulted in the so-called marriage amendment to the state constitution being placed on the Aug. 3 ballot should lead to more Christians voting, according to Kenny Qualls, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) associate executive director.
"The Bible is clear that every believer is called to be salt and light—not one or the other or not one over the other, but both,” Qualls said. “It is time for the church to be salt and preserve the rotting that’s taking place in our society by speaking out and voting. It’s also time for us to be light in proclaiming our Lord’s salvation to change our society one heart at a time.”
In a 6-1 decision, the high court ruled against Attorney General Jay Nixon in his bid to force Secretary of State Matt Blunt to place the initiative on the Aug. 3 ballot while at the same time encouraging Blunt to do what Nixon and his fellow Democrat, Gov. Bob Holden, wanted.
Blunt Spokesman Spence Jackson said his boss followed procedures set out by the constitution and statutes and acted properly in not acting on the governor’s May 19 proclamation for a special election until receiving the resolution from the General Assembly May 28. But the judges applied enough pressure June 2 to produce what Holden and Nixon were seeking.“
They (the judges) didn’t require it, but they strongly suggested it,” Jackson said. “We are in the process of complying.”
In other words, the Missouri State Supreme Court did not overrule two lower courts that upheld Blunt’s actions, but the judges “strongly suggested” that he not put the marriage amendment question on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. Blunt, a Republican running for governor against Holden, apparently was not bound by any law to comply with the judges.
Political pundits have speculated putting the amendment on the Nov. 2 ballot would have boosted turnout of conservative Christians who tend to vote Republican, while the Aug. 3 date favors Democrats who could see a healthy turnout because of a competitive gubernatorial primary.
Christian leaders around the state reacted with disappointment and wasted no time in linking Holden and Nixon to the homosexual lobby in the state.
“Our governor and the attorney general have sided with those who want to destroy traditional marriage,” said Vicky Hartzler, spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri . “They and their friends at the Missouri Supreme Court have twisted the constitution into a pretzel so that they could go out of their way to side with the opponents of traditional marriage.”
Added Kerry Messer, lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission of the MBC: “By stepping into this debate, and particularly by taking the homosexual position he has, Gov. Holden has proven his political allegiance to the homosexual lobby. It is now up to us and others to make sure voters of the state understand just where he and other political candidates stand on this issue.”
Messer said Holden wanted to force the traditional marriage vote in August to bypass more than 1.5 million voters who historically vote in the general election as opposed to the primary. The state constitution automatically places proposed amendments on the November ballot unless the governor sets a special election.
Blunt, who attends Second Baptist Church, Springfield, said through his spokesman that the June 2 decision “undermines the process for placing issues before Missouri voters.”
Visit www.cpmm.net to learn more about the marriage amendment.