October 30, 2012

5 ways to support marriage the next 5 days

By Rebecca Ryskind Teti *

With polls in the four states where it is on the ballot tightening, Catholics have the opportunity to make a decisive difference in defending man-woman marriage on Election Day.

We know why we should.

1. Marriage is the fundamental building block of any society. The union between a man and woman is the only source of our most important renewable resource: children.

2. Decades of social science affirm children do best when raised by both their mother and father. Just last week the Washington Post reported the results of a survey of 13 studies showing that men and women parent differently and adolescents need both.

3. A free society needs marriage. As Economist Jennifer Roback Morse argues in the chapter she contributed to Indivisible, “It is simply not possible to have a low-impact government in a society with no social or legal norms about family structure, sexual behavior, and childrearing.” This is because the less society is willing to live by agreed upon social norms, the more the government must expand to support and control citizens with loose bonds to one another.

4. Where same-sex marriage goes, First Amendment freedoms disappear. Two weeks ago Angela McCaskill, the first deaf African-American to earn a Ph.D. from Gallaudet University, was placed on administrative leave from her position as the school’s Diversity officer not for opposing same-sex marriage but merely for signing a petition to put the question to a referendum of the people. Unfortunately, she’s only the latest in a line of citizens who have been bullied, harassed or sued for falling afoul of same-sex marriage proponents.

Here’s what you can do for marriage these next five days – including three ideas if marriage isn’t on the ballot in your state this election cycle.

1. Marriage defenders in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington are being wildly outspent. Polls show that support for same-sex marriage is “soft” – meaning people are persuadable. In Maryland, for example, just a few weeks of advertising in favor of marriage have closed a 10 point gap in the polls. Donate now to keep ads defending marriage on the air in these last crucial days. At the link you can donate to all four campaigns or choose the one most important to you.

2. Volunteer! Because voters are open to persuasion (and in some cases uninformed – don’t assume everyone is following this issue) it’s crucial that marriage defenders man polling locations handing out literature explaining the ballot measures. Sign up yourself – or even better, maybe you could arrange for your parish, Bible study, book club or other group to cover a polling site?  Click the “learn more” button for your state at this site to be connected with the local volunteer effort. Or contact your local Catholic conference.

3. Vote! It’s tempting in states with overwhelming majorities of one party to think it won’t matter if we stay home. Not so when it comes to marriage, which is a non-partisan issue. Supporters of both or neither presidential candidate can be found on both sides of the marriage debate, which means the ballot results are not foregone conclusions. Polls show the races are very close. Your vote – or its absence – could make the difference.

4. Make the local pro-marriage ads (find them at the link above) go viral by “liking” and sharing them on social media or emailing links to your friends. You’ll not only be educating voters, you’ll be exercising your First Amendment freedoms and giving heart to people who are afraid they are the only ones who still believe in marriage.

5. Pray and fast for the intention of the defense of marriage and religious liberty at the ballot box this election season. Here is a prayer for marriage recommended by the USCCB.

Here’s a bonus idea, for a longer-term approach. If you are married, why not discuss with your spouse steps to strengthening your own marriage? As Maggie Gallagher argues in this blunt and challenging column, the most important thing Christians can do to defend marriage is model it.

Rebecca Ryskind Teti is Operations Coordinator for the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at the Busch School of Business & Economics at CUA, though the opinions are her own. This column is modified from an earlier version that first appeared in Faith & Family  magazine.

* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.


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