New Data to Show Growing Support for Traditional Marriage

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

(1st Add: Includes comments from the American Center for Law and Justice.)

( - On the same day the Massachusetts courts will invalidate the state's marriage laws to include same-sex "marriage," a pro-family group plans to release new data that showing support is growing among Americans for a marriage amendment that would establish marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Members of the Alliance for Marriage, including Rev. Walter Fauntroy, the Washington, D.C. coordinator for the March on Washington for Martin Luther King Jr., will be joined by African-American groups from Boston to release new Wirthlin Worldwide data showing majority support for AFM's marriage amendment across all racial and political lines.

"Most Americans believe that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose. But they don't believe they have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society," said Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage. "Americans want our laws to send a positive message to children about marriage, family and their future."

Legal experts predict Monday's court ruling will generate a wave of lawsuits designed to overturn marriage laws nationwide.

The Boston Bar Association has publicly called for "federal constitutional claims" to be brought against all state and federal marriage laws in the aftermath of the decision.

"The constitutional problem created by almost a decade of activist lawsuits to destroy our marriage laws demands a constitutional fix," Daniels said. "AFM's marriage amendment has been introduced with bi-partisan sponsorship in two successive sessions of Congress in order to protect the common sense view of marriage shared by the vast majority of Americans of every race, color and creed."

"AFM's Federal Marriage Amendment will protect marriage while leaving all issues of benefits to the democratic process in the states," he added. "AFM believes this centrist approach embodied in our amendment offers hope of a democratic solution to the debate that will be forced on America as a result of Monday's court decision."

Meanwhile, the American Center for Law and Justice, which specializes in constitutional law, testified Thursday before a congressional panel in support of House Joint Resolution 56, the Federal Marriage Amendment, which specifies marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution that the federal marriage amendment is "essential" and told the Subcommittee that more than 230,000 Americans already have signed a petition in support of the amendment.

"Marriage is our most vital institution and it is essential that Congress pass the federal marriage amendment to allow, once and for all, the states to decide through the democratic process whether marriage will remain the union of one man and one woman - as it has for hundreds of years," said Sekulow.

"With Massachusetts set to issue same-sex marriage licenses in just a matter of days, it is clear that attempts to change marriage by judicial edict not only skirt the democratic process and shred the rule of law, but also exclude the people from this fundamental debate and decision, and embolden local officials to determine for themselves which laws they will and will not enforce," he said.

"The time has come for passage of the amendment," Sekulow added.

In its testimony, the ACLJ said the amendment does not result in an unpredictable or sudden change in the status of law in this country. The ACLJ argues that the amendment "serves to resolve the uncertainties that have been artificially interjected into what would otherwise be fairly described as an entirely and clearly settled question of law."

"Same-sex marriage will not simply undermine traditional marriage, it will transform our society and the nature and reach of government. That transformation will lead to more, not less, government growth and social chaos," the testimony states.

"The Federal Marriage Amendment will insure such a profound and elemental change does not occur without the opportunity of the people and society to exercise the democratic model and vote through their elected state houses," the testimony continues.

"Traditional marriages, in which one man and one woman create a lasting community, transmit the values and contributions of the past to establish the promise of the future," the testimony concludes.

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