Press Release

SBC’s Richard Land commends Frist, rebukes missing senators on Marriage Protection Amendment

June 07, 2006

NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 7, 2006—Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission commented on the June 7 vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment in the Senate.

“Defenders of marriage owe a debt of gratitude to Majority Leader Bill Frist and other senators who insisted, over the objections of many of their colleagues on both sides of the aisle, that this issue come to the floor for a vote. They should also draw encouragement that the measure received one more vote this year than in 2004.

“They should be disgusted by the pathetic failure of the Senate to do far better on this issue than it did. The fact that on a matter this important three senators didn’t even vote is a slap in the face to the tens of millions of American for whom this is a critically important issue. The reality is that one of the senators who failed to show, Chuck Hagel, is a senator from a state, Nebraska, which had the values of 70 percent of its citizens negated by one federal judge when he threw out the Nebraska ban on same-sex marriage. Hagel’s absence should be particularly galling to Nebraskans.

“If the senators voted the way their states have voted on this issue, we would have had 90 senators vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment, because 45 states have already passed either constitutional amendments or state laws banning same-sex marriage. It is up to the citizens of the various states who have such recalcitrant senators to have a direct, purposeful and ongoing dialogue with their respective senators.

“One doesn’t eat an apple in one bite. Most amendments fail on their first or second introduction. Those who understand that this is the only way to safeguard marriage as between only a man and a woman must redouble their efforts and realize that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and then the next step and the next step and the next step.

“I want to thank all of the people who took the time to contact their senators and to request their support for the amendment over the past few weeks.”

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.