Missourians to rally at state Capitol in support of marriage amendment
By Allen Palmeri
April 27, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – A Marriage Amendment Rally in support of the General Assembly’s attempt to place a constitutional amendment affirming traditional marriage on the November ballot will take place May 3 at 2 p.m., in the state Capitol rotunda.
The rally comes just a few weeks after Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Clippard delivered a petition bearing 10,000 Missouri Southern Baptist signatures expressing support for the amendment.
Rally organizers hope to duplicate the success of a Nov. 22 rally for the Ten Commandments in the rotunda which drew about 1,000 participants.
“It’s time for Christians to get involved," said Vicki Hartzler, spokeswoman for the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri .
Concerned Women for America (CWA) is joining with the coalition as co-organizer of the rally, which, in effect, is serving as the kickoff to the voter part of the process. Lawmakers are applying the finishing touches to the resolution that will place the issue either on the August primary ballot or the Nov. 2 general election ballot. The House gave its final approval to the amendment April 22, voting 124-19 in favor of the measure. The Senate has passed a similar resolution and sent it to the House. The two will met in conference to hammer out the amendment’s final language.
The governor has no say in whether it becomes law; however, he can control on which ballot the amendment will appear. It is believed the governor favors the August primary date. By a simple majority vote, Missourians can place in the state constitution language that would strengthen the state’s statutory law endorsing one man, one woman marriage.
“It’s time for the citizens to get geared up and do their part, because the Legislature has done their part," said Bev Ehlen, CWA legislative liaison and a member of The Way Baptist Fellowship, a mission of Fellowship Baptist Church , Warrenton. “That may even take extra voter registration in the churches."
Hartzler served in the General Assembly from 1994-2000 as a representative from Harrisonville. She stepped down to spend time raising her daughter and has been asked to represent the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri before the media. As of April 14, she said she has been on a half a dozen radio stations across the state talking about the merits of traditional marriage. The coalition was launched March 9.
“This will determine our civilization," she said, explaining the importance of Missourians voting yes in either August or November.
Hartzler voiced the concern of many Christians that tolerance for homosexual marriage will open the door to the legalization of group marriage and polygamy. She said advocacy groups are poised to use the same strategy that the homosexuals have been using to plead their cases before government officials should homosexual marriage become legal in the United States. This will cause our society to crumble, she said.
The Ten Commandments rally proved that Christians from all parts of Missouri will come to Jefferson City to stand up for their beliefs. Hartzler said the time for the sequel has arrived.
“We’d like to have supporters of traditional marriage from all over the state flood the Capitol," she said.
Voter registration drives will be organized throughout the state, Hartzler said. Closer to the election, regional rallies will be held in different parts of the state to keep the issue foremost in the minds of the voters. The goal, Hartzler said, is to communicate that a few vocal activists will not be allowed to override the will of the majority, which clearly favors traditional marriage.
“Christians are standing firm on those things that God has said are best for our society," she said.