Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Marriage is very important to me. Personally, it is a covenant that I made with my wife of over 35 years. It is a sacred trust between the two of us but it is more than that. Marriage plays a significant part in the health of our society and the future of our children. This is why I have fought so hard to preserve the traditional definition of marriage.

In November, Illinois became the sixteenth state (including the District of Columbia) to change its definition of marriage to include homosexual relationships. You probably didn’t hear too much about the fight in Illinois, which dragged on for several months longer than homosexual “marriage” activists had intended. Why did it take so long for an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature to approve what homosexual activists promise us is an inevitable part of our future?

The answer is that, for quite a while, the efforts of key black clergy members preserved the traditional definition of marriage in Illinois. Their courageous stand—which included placing relentless pressure on black Democratic legislators—had the opposition gnashing its teeth in frustration. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on their activity in May, noting, “stubborn resistance within the House Black Caucus, a 20-member bloc of African-American lawmakers who have faced a withering lobbying blitz against the plan [to redefine marriage] from black ministers, has helped keep Harris’ legislation [to redefine marriage] in check, with several House members still undecided.”

In the end, however, the well-funded and aggressive campaign to redefine marriage succeeded. It is worth noting that the margin in the House was razor thin. The measure would not have passed without the three Republicans who supported it: Representatives Cross, Sullivan, and Sandack.

As the Associated Press explained, after the bill failed in May, “Proponents then launched another aggressive campaign with help from labor, the former head of the Illinois Republican Party and the ACLU… [Illinois Governor] Quinn and House Speaker Michael Madigan also persuade[d] lawmakers in the final days.” Shortly after Illinois’ decision, New Mexico’s State Supreme Court ruled homosexual “marriage” a constitutional right.

Homosexual activists have been hailing these victories as an unstoppable tide of change sweeping the nation. They rarely mention the fact that 31 states have already passed amendments to their state constitutions clarifying that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Even with the Supreme Court striking down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June, the tide may in fact be turning.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.