-- Catholic News Agency
Support For Preserving Marriage Grows In Key States
WASHINGTON D.C., November 3 (CNA) .- Recent polls show increasing support for marriage being the union of one man and one woman in states that will soon cast ballots on whether to legalize "gay marriage."
"Our opponents are hugely outspending us and had a jump start on us when it comes to getting the message across, though they failed to move the needle much their direction," explained Thomas Peters, cultural director for the National Organization for Marriage.
"Now that we are on the airwaves as well, we are having success in changing hearts and minds," Peters told CNA on Nov. 2.
In the final days before the election, the National Organization for Marriage is working with other marriage supporters to reach and mobilize 10 million voters through a robocall campaign in key states.
The calls - which will be placed in both English and in Spanish - will reach out to voters of various political beliefs who support marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Marriage is an important issue this year for voters in four states.
In Minnesota, voters will have the chance to approve a state constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Citizens in Maryland and Washington state will be faced with referendums to approve or reject recent laws legalizing same-sex "marriage." In Maine, advocates of redefining marriage have placed a measure on the ballot to legalize same-sex "marriage."
A number of recent polls in these states have suggested that the measures are in a dead heat, with defense of marriage on the rise.
A poll conducted Oct. 26-28 by SurveyUSA found the Minnesota amendment as being too-close-to-call, with marriage defenders leading those who wished to redefine the institution by one point, within the survey's margin of error.
A Washington survey found the percentage of voters committed to defending marriage has risen in recent weeks, as the gap of undecided voters narrows.
The Elway Poll, an independent, nonpartisan analysis of public opinion trends, found in its Oct. 24 analysis that support for redefining marriage in the state dropped by two points from September to October, falling below 50 percent.
Meanwhile, opposition to redefining the institution has risen by eight points within that same time, bringing the ballot measure to within four points.
In Maryland, an Oct. 20-23 poll conducted for The Baltimore Sun indicated a dead heat, while a poll that it commissioned a month ago showed proponents of redefining marriage with a 10 point lead - 49 percent to 39 percent.
The newspaper reported that in late September, a majority of the African American community supported redefining marriage, while the most recent poll found that 50 percent opposed it and 42 percent supported it. It attributed this shift in black opinion to the efforts of religious leaders.
Peters agreed that "in Maryland special credit goes to the African-American pastors and leaders who are informing their community" about the importance of defending marriage.
Contributing to these efforts is the Coalition of African-American Pastors, a national group that has been working to raise awareness and support for marriage at the grassroots level.
Rev. Williams Owens, president of the coalition, recently spoke out against an ad aimed at African American Christians that encouraged them to follow President Barack Obama's lead by voting to redefine marriage in Maryland.
"This ad is the worst attempt at pandering and manipulating the Black community to ignore their own pastors who rightfully uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage," he said in an Oct. 31 statement.
Owens warned that the African American community is being courted "for political gain," and said that the "Black church has been the conscience of not only the Black community but of the nation."
Marriage advocates argue that redefining marriage will remove its focus on the biological relationship that provides the foundation for new human life.
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that more than 40 percent of babies in the U.S. are born to unmarried women. Studies have found correlations between out-of-wedlock childbearing and poverty.
According to Peters, the report reinforces the need to recognize and promote marriage as the child-centered union of a man and a woman.
He explained that "men and women coming together in marriage to raise the children they have is a huge benefit to society, to the next generation and to the spouses, and is one of the strongest safeguards against poverty."
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