Press Release

Historic coalition calls for passage of Marriage Protection

May 11, 2006

NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 11, 2006—If the courts force a redefinition of marriage on our nation, it is only a matter of time before runaway political correctness results in Parents’ Day cards replacing the more traditional Mothers’ and Fathers’ day cards we have all been so accustomed to sending, suggests Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land.

Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has joined a diverse group of faith leaders and organizations across the country to affirm the biblical definition, nature and purpose of marriage.

“This is truly an historic coalition,” Land said of the Religious Coalition for Marriage. “This is the first time these churches, religious leaders and institutions have coordinated their efforts on this scale. It is testimony to the importance in our society of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Land joined more than forty religious leaders in signing the coalition’s “Letter in Defense of Marriage,” that in part says, “…marriage is a universal, natural, covenantal union of a man and a woman intended for personal love, support and fulfillment, and the bearing and rearing of children. Sanctioned by and ordained of God, marriage both precedes and sustains civil society.”

Marriage is a sacred, lifelong bond between one man and one woman and is the bedrock of a civil society, Land said.

“The best legal minds in the country have come to the conclusion that the only way we can protect ourselves from having a runaway, imperial judiciary force same-sex “marriage,” and perhaps down the road even polygamy, upon an unwilling nation is to have a constitutional amendment that says specifically that nothing in the U.S. Constitution or any of the state constitutions shall be construed as requiring that marriage be anything other than the union of a man and a woman,” Land said.

“The vast majority of Americans do not want the definition of marriage to be radically modified to include same-sex partners,” he continued. “We still have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people—if we will stand up and demand it.”

Land and James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, partnered to send a letter to all Southern Baptist pastors, asking them to encourage their congregations to contact their senators in support of the Marriage Protection Amendment by postcard or by phone.

“Your involvement will help ensure that each senator receives tangible evidence demonstrating the same sentiment we’ve seen in the 19 states that have recently–and overwhelmingly–voted to protect marriage in their own state constitutions,” the letter read.

The ERLC Web site, faithandfamily.com, features various resources created by the ERLC’s Research Institute on the subjects of homosexuality, marriage and same-sex “marriage.” The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Marriage Amendment June 6 or 7, 2006. For more information on this effort, visit religiouscoalitionformarriage.org.

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.3 million members in over 43,500 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.