Published April 8, 2004
The Georgia House of Representatives voted in favor of the state constitutional marriage amendment on March 31st on the 38th day of the forty-day legislative session. The measure, which required a vote of two-thirds of the House, got two votes more than the 120 needed for approval.
The passage of the amendment has been attributed in part to four members of the 39-member House Legislative Black Caucus who did not vote on February 26, but who supported the bill in the latest tally.
There were 30 black pastors from the Atlanta area who signed a statement condemning comparisons between homosexual rights and civil rights. Their statement/letter was delivered to the Georgia General Assembly prior to the final roll call on the amendment and could have very well influenced the votes of the four Black representatives. These pastors said they could “no longer remain silent” and called upon legislators to pass the amendment.
The letter signed by the pastors reads, “Marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman; and it has served civilization for over six thousand years as a primary basis for stability, security, health and well-being. We had better not tamper with or redefine this sacred institution.”
The letter concludes with these words to the legislators: “Rise above the political smoke and journalistic rhetoric. Don’t succumb to the easy choice. Do the right thing. We will watch how you vote and our children will feel the effects.”
Baptists from across the state celebrated the victory. Jimmy Blanton, director of missions from the Columbus Association, said, “Thank God for the legislators who by virtue of their decision will give the citizens of the state of Georgia the opportunity to decide the issue that will protect the family for years to come.”
Kelly Brown, pastor of First Church in Fitzgerald, stated, “The proposed constitutional amendment…will now be decided in the minds, hearts, homes, and marriages of average Georgia citizens. Our representatives should be appreciated for giving us this opportunity.”
Charlie Bridges of Grove Level Church in Dalton proclaims, “I applaud the legislators for allowing the people of the state to voice their convictions at the ballot box. Most Americans would never have believed that we would have needed this marriage amendment. However, our society has redefined tolerance while removing truth, and that has made the need for the marriage amendment inevitable.”
Tommy Fountain, director of missions for Mulberry Association, remarked, “The positive vote of our legislators gives Georgians the opportunity to set the example of Christian values and morals across our great nation. If Christians will register and vote this November, a lopsided victory will encourage other states to stand up for the marriage amendment.”
Fountain added, “Personally, I am thankful for those who have worked so hard lobbying the senators and representatives with many of their hours being spent at the Capitol. This vote was of such magnitude that Georgians made a statement on moral values that will positively affect generations to come. I praise the Lord for the miraculous victory.”
Fred Evers, Tifton’s Northside Church pastor, declared, “The vote on the gay marriage ban is a victory in an ongoing cultural war. Do not be mistaken; the gay agenda is a major player among a group of self-proclaimed elitists who want nothing less than the soul of America. The reason these elitists have the ear of the media and the sway of society is because good men have remained silent. To stand by without interest and allow activist judges to rewrite the moral laws which are the foundational blocks of our civilization is nothing less than grievous sin.”
Evers continued. “To equate the legitimacy of homosexual marriage as a civil rights issue is intellectual dishonesty and moral outrage.”
Ray Newman, lobbyist for Georgia Baptists, has expressed his gratitude for all those who helped win the battle.
“To be at the Capitol on the day of the vote was different from any other time this session. There was a sense of the power of God in that place. This was a hard-fought battle, but the Lord gave the victory. We praise His name. Now the people of Georgia will need to go to the polls in November and vote this amendment into our constitution with an overwhelming vote.”
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