ANALYSIS: What Missourians had to say about homosexual “marriage”
Don HinklePathway Editor
August 17, 2004
From strictly a political point of view, the 71-29 percent margin in which Amendment 2 passed was so sweeping it may well impact the fall elections – particularly in the dozen or so other states where voters are expected to vote on the matter. Democrats are particularly concerned about so-called “swing” states like Ohio and Oregon where the presidential race is tight, but where President Bush could benefit from a strong voter turnout by highly motivated conservatives and evangelicals who passionately oppose homosexual “marriage.”
Amendment 2’s margin of victory was one of the largest ever in Missouri. It carried every county in the state but one – the city of St. Louis, a homosexual and liberal stronghold (it lost there by only 3,000 votes). Amendment 2 attracted more votes than any other issue on the ballot, evidence that the marriage issue was the impetus behind the high voter turnout for a primary (43% of the state’s registered voters showed up at the polls compared to about half that four years ago). Generally, Amendment 2 carried anywhere from 74 percent of the vote in Cole County to an astounding 89 percent in Bollinger County.
When Gov. Bob Holden made the controversially political decision to put Amendment 2 on the Aug. 3 ballot instead of Nov. 2, conventional wisdom among political observers suggested it was done to keep Bush and Missouri Republican candidates from benefiting from a large turnout in the fall. Holden was right about the large turnout, but when Republicans look at the 71 percent figure, they have been handed a powerful issue to hammer Democrats with in Missouri – and other states like Ohio. Such strong support of Amendment 2 flies in the face of polling data showing homosexual “marriage” is not among the top issues most important to voters. For example, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll Aug. 5 had the economy and the war against terrorism as the top two issues in voters’ minds. Homosexual “marriage” was nowhere to be found on the list of about eight issues. Either such polls are faulty or Missourians care more about traditional marriage than the nation does as a whole. Missourians do generally tend to be conservative, so the latter may well be the reason. Indeed we should be careful with pre-election polls. (For example, about a week before the election, Amendment 2 was leading 62-38 percent in a poll and the final tally was 71-29 percent.)
So what happens now?
I have to believe the Republicans are going to make homosexual “marriage” a more prominent issue in coming weeks. That would seem to be good strategy given the results in Missouri as long as they do not get too carried away. Bush is already running a very effective television ad in Missouri stressing “country, faith, family and sacrifice.” Such ads combined with others that simply point out Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s record on the matter and the Democratic Party platform, which has a plank expressing equal rights for homosexuals, should help GOP candidates benefit in states like Ohio and Oregon that have constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage on the ballot this fall.
Kerry says he opposes homosexual “marriage,” but favors homosexual “civil unions.” There really isn’t any difference between the two positions. Those who advocate civil unions are trying to be clever and pave the way for homosexual “marriage” in every way but name. The end result will still be the destruction of the traditional family. In 1996, Kerry was one of only 14 senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages and gave states the right to refuse to recognize those licensed in other states. Kerry’s position put him at odds with then President Clinton, who signed it into law. On Nov. 18, 2003, Kerry expressed support for the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s controversial ruling mandating official recognition of homosexual “marriage” in that state. “I believe that today’s decision (by the court) calls on the Massachusetts state legislature to take action to ensure equal protection for gay couples. These protections are long overdue,” he said.
In his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Kerry asked President Bush not to bring up matters that are “divisive.” He repeated that theme in a stump speech in Jefferson City Aug. 5. This is a pro-homosexual activists’ tactic used to suppress further public debate on the matter. This presents a political problem for Democrats like Kerry. Missourians clearly stated Aug. 3 that the issue is not divisive, but urgent.
Another reason Republicans ought to be more aggressive on the traditional marriage issue is because the Democrats flaunted homosexuality at their convention. Conversely, voters should be reminded that Bush – and other Republicans like Missouri gubernatorial candidate Matt Blunt – supports the Federal Marriage Amendment and that 38 states have passed Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMAs).
Compounding the problem for Democrats are their attempts to explain what happened on Amendment 2 in Missouri. For example, Chrissy Gephardt, the lesbian daughter of Democratic U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, said on The O’Reilly Factor show on Fox News Channel Aug. 5 that the 71 percent of Missourians who voted for Amendment 2 did so out of “fear.” I suspect thoughtful Missourians will find such explanations demeaning, for it implies that conservative ideas are trivial. If I were a Democrat, I’d be as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
It would be irresponsible for a Christian journalist to ignore the role a sovereign God played in the Amendment 2 vote. For the Psalter declares, “Dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations” (Ps. 22:28).
Two spiritual truths immediately come to mind as the smoke clears from Aug. 3. First, 2 Chronicles 7:14 was evident. God was – and is — faithful in answering the cries of His children. Missouri Baptist churches fervently prayed for passage of Amendment 2 in the weeks leading up to the vote. Other evangelicals gathered to pray in homes, at churches and at rallies, the most recent at the state Capitol on Aug. 1 for an event that drew more than 1,000 people from more than a half dozen Jefferson City area congregations. Theologically conservative groups like Concerned Women for America in Missouri established more than 40 prayer groups around the state. The length and intensity of prayer was real and God responded.
The second spiritual truth emerging from the Amendment 2 victory is that God’s children were obedient to Matthew 5:13-16. The MBC was a leader in a coalition of pro-family groups that launched an aggressive voter registration and education effort. The MBC mailed out thousands of bulletin inserts and hundreds of CDs with additional information were distributed among its approximately 2,000 churches. The convention aggressively lobbied state lawmakers, urging them to put Amendment 2 on the ballot this year. MBC leaders delivered a last-minute petition bearing the signatures – collected in just one week — of more than 10,000 people asking the lawmakers to support Amendment 2. MBC leaders scattered across the state for weeks preaching in churches, conducting more than a dozen television and radio interviews on the matter. The Pathway, for weeks, editorialized in support of the measure.
Missouri Christians were not only “salt,” but were “light” as well. One of the most biased aspects of the news media’s coverage was its constant reference to Amendment 2 as being “a ban against homosexual marriage.” It was not that. It was an affirmation of a God-ordained institution. The amendment does not say anything about “a ban,” simply stating that marriage in Missouri will be solely between a man and a woman. Christians simply voted God’s way and let their light shine.
Supporters of Amendment 2 realize the fight to defend traditional marriage is far from over. Many think the lopsided vote will only make the state a target of homosexuals who are sure to get “married” in Massachusetts, where the state Supreme Court has ruled homosexual “marriage” to be legal. Upon getting “married,” a homosexual couple will return to Missouri and sue in federal court, claiming Amendment 2 violates the “full faith and credit clause” of the U.S. Constitution. They will likely find a liberal judge (they will look until they do) who will subvert the will of the people by ruling Amendment 2 in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Appeals will ultimately place the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. It has been said that, for the universal Christian church, homosexual “marriage” is this generation’s Roe v. Wade. With the possibility of the next president having the privilege of filling perhaps two vacancies on the Supreme Court looming, a move that could dramatically change the makeup of the court to the point to where traditional marriage will be protected and Roe v. Wade could be overturned, believers and secularists understand much is at stake Nov. 2.