World Congress of Families IX: How traditional family advocates can respond to same-sex marriage decision

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Rev. Katie Hotze-Wilton signs a Missouri marriage license after performing a marriage ceremony for April Dawn Breeden and her long-time partner Crystal Pearis Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, at City Hall in St. Louis. St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison overturned Missouri's ban on gay marriage on Wednesday saying the law is unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Rev. Katie Hotze-Wilton signs a Missouri marriage license after performing a marriage ceremony at City Hall in St. Louis in 2014. Missouri’s ban on gay marriage was ruled unconstitutional before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 states last summer. Traditional family advocates at the World Congress of Families said Americans who disagree with the decision must continue to speak up. (Associated Press)

The Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage in June 2015 makes the need to stand firm for traditional families and marriages more important than ever, according to panelists speaking on the final day of the World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City.

Pastor Greg Johnson, founder of Utah-based Standing Together, said communities need to regain the understanding that marriage and human sexuality is sacred.

“We need to be unapologetic in our stand for traditional families. We need to engage fully as participants in the democracy we call the United States and stand with confidence as we participate is this conversation,” Johnson said.

He said it is not easy to raise a voice of truth and reclaim the stand that traditional marriage and human sexuality are connected, he said. Raising a supportive voice requires engagement in civil conversations. Johnson encouraged delegates to spread support for traditional families, and said more respect for the nature of families will develop as a result.

“My hope is to see America regain commitment to natural family as we participate in civil conversations,” Johnson said.

Cathy Ruse, legal adviser to the Family Research Council, proclaimed her belief in what marriage is.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman. No law will change that belief. No judge will change that belief. There is nothing that can change that belief,” Ruse said.

Laws dictating love came under government scrutiny as individuals sought societal approval for their variations of sexual relationships, including marriage, according to Ruse.

“Now a government’s stamp of approval on a marriage license is satisfaction for personal feelings,” Ruse said.

Even though same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states, Ruse said people did not choose to have love be dictated by law. Citing 20 states that rejected same-sex marriage including California, Texas and Utah, Ruse said that 50 million Americans voted to keep the legal definition of marriage as one man and one woman.

Ruse encouraged delegates to live the new law in civil disobedience.

“We must fight for the right to live and work according to our beliefs. If we cannot secure the freedom to live our beliefs, we must live this law in civil disobedience,” Ruse said.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said he recognized the defeat that many Americans felt following the decision. He encouraged people to move forward.

“There is no time for depression or wringing hands. We must move forward with a vision of things to change. We need to stand for something and continue to recognize that natural marriage is between one man and one woman,” Brown said.

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