Politics & Government

Marriage Amendment: The fate of gay marriage is up to you

“That’s right,” came the chorus from 37 people as a Baptist preacher said gay marriage needs to be outlawed.“Amen,” was the next refrain.

It wasn’t church, but it was religion and politics mixed into medicine they want you to take.

For the all-male pastors of several area churches and a few all-male Republican politicians, the only subject Tuesday at a news conference at the York Baptist Association was that South Carolina needs a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

I counted 33 whites, three blacks and one Korean. All the people in an arc behind standard bearer the Rev. Steve Hogg of Rock Hill’s First Baptist Church stood shoulder to shoulder to urge people to vote “yes” on a statewide referendum question Tuesday that would make marriage legally only between one man and one woman.A ballot question that almost everybody agrees will pass easily anyway.

The question, though, is why?

Why is it so important to spread the word that the state constitution must be changed, when there is no assemblage of gays to line up and get married here?

The words “traditional culture” or “traditional values” were said three times by different speakers. To save the crumbling family from further destruction, they said, and protect South Carolina from liberal courts.

If South Carolina and the other seven states with marriage amendments on Tuesday’s ballot pass those measures, a majority of U.S. states will have constitutions saying marriage is only between a man and a woman, said state Rep. Greg Delleney, R-Chester. South Carolina needs to get with the majority, he said.

“The Supreme Court is not immune to public pressure,” said Delleney, a lawyer by trade. “This boils down to whether we want to save our traditional culture.”So there it is: Strike now. Supporters say before the Supreme Court gets a chance to decide if denying gay marriage is discrimination, you the voter need to send a warning shot across the bow.

The Rev. Dave Stanford of Clover, current moderator of the Baptist association with “65 churches and 22,000 believers,” put it bluntly that homosexual marriage could lead to the “destruction of society.”

Does society hang in the balance over whether the gay couple down the street wants to get married?

These men, not a Democrat and not a woman among them on Tuesday, said yes, gay marriage means that much.

It is tough to argue against these people who gathered Tuesday, who clearly care about their community, who have the courage to publicly say so. All want children to grow up and thrive and prosper in two-parent families with a lady called Mom and a man called Dad.

Still, Tuesday’s news conference was also an attempt to show who has political muscle. Who can reach the voters and bring them out. The preachers flexed powerful biceps Tuesday.

Hogg, a respected religious leader in York County for years who has fought conservative fights, said he will consider any politician’s stance on the gay marriage amendment when deciding who to vote for Tuesday.

Tuesday, we elect a governor and other statewide offices, state representatives, county council members, school boards.

Tuesday, a person alone at the ballot box decides who to vote for, what amendments to back, and whether a candidate and a position on gay marriage are connected.

You the voter will say if South Carolina is threatened by gay marriage, before any court decides if gay marriage is discrimination.

You decide whether to say, “Amen.”

Andrew Dys • 329-4065 adys@heraldonline.com