24 Oct Elections Critical to Defending Marriage
Elections Critical to Defending Marriage
October 24, 2006
Over the past few weeks, as I have taken over the leadership of United Families International, I have had many opportunities to reflect on how critical the upcoming elections will be to our efforts to defend marriage and the family.
Elections are always important in a democratic system, of course. When there is the likelihood of a change in control of Congress and various state legislatures, as there appears to be with this election, they become even more significant.
However, I am convinced that the most critical votes cast on November 7th will be those on the eight state marriage amendments. Regardless of any other partisan successes or failures on Election Day, a defeat of one of these state amendments would dramatically, permanently and negatively change the political environment we have worked so hard to create in defending this critical social institution.
Even though national opinion polls show remarkably consistent and strong support for traditional marriage in the U.S., the defeat of a marriage amendment after 20 straight successes would certainly be widely reported by the media as evidence of diminished public support. Inevitably, it would energize opponents of marriage amendments in these states that will have them on the ballot in 2008, making our job that much tougher. Passing a federal marriage amendment would become much more difficult. And, it would also have international impact because the defeat here in the U.S. would be interpreted as further evidence of waning support for marriage around the world.
In other words, we simply cannot lose one of these amendments if there is anything we can possibly do to prevent it.
As Sharon Slater reported in last month’s newsletter, state amendments in Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota and Wisconsin appear to be in trouble for various reasons.
In Colorado, not only is a state marriage amendment on the ballot, but so is an initiative that would legalize civil unions for same-sex individuals. This is the first time that voters in a marriage amendment election have had to face this confusing situation.
In Wisconsin, a strong alliance of amendment opponents, including powerful labor unions, is trying to exploit that state’s liberal political traditions to defeat their amendment. Polls show that it is very close.
Surprisingly, polls also show the margin of support for South Dakota’s amendment to be closer than most analysts would have expected. There has been intense activity in the state related to abortion as well as marriage and that appears to be altering the political climate there by focusing more national attention and outside resources on South Dakota than would normally be expected.
But, it is in my home state of Arizona where there is the greatest likelihood of losing a marriage amendment. Over a year ago, homosexual activists and their allies targeted Arizona as the state where they thought they have the best chance of killing an amendment. Money and other resources from around the country have poured into the state and their campaign against the amendment has been more aggressive, better organized and much better funded than in other states. It has also been especially misleading and dishonest. Opinion polls show that the outcome on this one is too close to call, the closest of any of the eight amendments on the ballot.
United Families International is doing everything we can to support the marriage amendments in all eight states, but in this election cycle we have been most active in the effort in Arizona, in part because our international office is located in the state. Until taking over as president of UFI, I was the UFI Arizona chapter president so I have a particularly good understanding of the challenges we face here.
This is why I am making a particular appeal to all UFI supporters no matter where they might live to help us in the fight in Arizona. We have squeezed as much money out of our budget as we possibly can to support this amendment. But we and the other pro-family groups in the state are being massively outspent by the amendment opponents who are raising millions of dollars to defeat it.
We urgently need additional funds to support our media advertising campaign to get out the pro-family vote on Election Day. Please make the most generous contribution you can to help us. All of the funds contributed in response to this contribution appeal will be used to support our Arizona effort and they are tax-deductible.
While it may seem that this is an Arizona issue, the reality is that a defeat here will impact all of us who are determined to defend marriage no matter where we live.
Thank you for whatever you can do to help!