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Texas lawmaker, ministers applaud gay-marriage ban

‘No one would address the main issue, which was ‘one man, one woman, defining marriage,’ ‘ said Texas Rep. Dan Branch.

By Tamie Ross
The Christian Chronicle

December 1, 2005
Church leaders in Texas worked to approvea Nov. 8 constitutional amendment that bolstered the state’s ban on same-sexmarriage.

State Rep. DanBranch, R-Dallas, a member of the Preston Road church, said the 3-to-1 margin of victorypleased him.

Branch said alast-minute phone campaign by the opposition threatening “false consequences ifthe amendment passed” had concerned him.

“No one would addressthe main issue, which was ‘one man, one woman, defining marriage,’” Branchsaid. “In the end, though, we prevailed.”

Branch said he workedwith church leaders in his district to make sure voters were aware of theelection and the issues at stake. Texasbecame the 19th state to amend its constitution to ban gay marriage.

The measure sweptmost of the state’s major urban counties, including Dallas. The only exception: Travis County,home of the state capital of Austin.

Roger McCown, pulpitminister at the Brentwood Oaks church, Austin,said he willingly — yet carefully — addressed Proposition 2 from the pulpitbefore the election.

“The fact thatsomeone politicizes a moral question doesn’t make it out of bounds for speakingon it in church,” McCown said.

McCown and others at Brentwood Oaks said theyfought a campaign against misinformation in the Austin area.

“City leaders were telling folks here thatanyone who voted for Proposition 2 was a bigot, full of hate,” he said. “But asresponsible citizens of not just this city and state, but of the kingdom ofheaven, we felt like we needed to discharge our responsibilities. We do live inboth worlds.”

In sharp contrast, the community of Pampa, 60 miles northeast of Amarillo in the Panhandle, solidly backed theamendment from its inception. State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, co-authoredthe legislation and solicited local churches’ help to pass it.

“We took advantage of that localrelationship,” said Rodney Tedford, minister of the Mary Ellen & Harvesterchurch, Pampa.“We had more literature, more volunteers and more momentum because of WarrenChisum and people’s familiarity with the issues here.”

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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