LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky Baptist Convention leaders penned letters to the Kentucky Congressional delegation on Friday regarding the “Respect for Marriage Act” which would codify same-sex marriage into federal law.
Five of the six Kentucky U.S. House members and both U.S. Senators voted against the measure. The letters, signed by KBC President James Carroll and Executive Director Todd Gray, thank them for opposing the bill and asks for their continued opposition as it comes to a final vote on the Senate floor and perhaps returns to the House.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul voted against ending the Senate filibuster and sending the bill to the floor for a vote. Twelve other Republican Senators broke ranks and supported the measure. In July, U.S. Reps. Jamie Comer, Thomas Massie, Andy Barr, Hal Rogers and Brett Guthrie voted against the measure in the House, while Sen. John Yarmuth voted in favor. The letter to Yarmuth asks him to reconsider his vote should an amended version come back the House floor in the future.
The letters were sent to the congressional offices by email on Friday afternoon.
“We thought it was important for Kentucky’s congressional delegation to know that Kentucky Baptists appreciate their support of traditional marriage,” Gray said. “Congressman Yarmuth is the only Kentucky member of Congress who voted in favor of the co-called Respect for Marriage Act, and the letter urges him to reconsider in light of the clear teaching of scripture.”
Marriage is an institution created by God as a union between one man and one woman, and government has no authority to attempt to redefine it, the letter says.
Also of concern is that the updated bill would not protect religious schools or faith-based nonprofits such as adoption and foster care providers.
James Carroll, the president of the KBC and lead pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown, voiced his strong opposition to the bill and thankfulness to the members of Congress who voted against it.
“The institution of marriage is under assault in our culture. Language is elastic and simple words may be redefined by culture over time; however, there is more at stake here than the definition of a term. This bill seeks to redefine the institution of marriage, which is beyond the scope of public debate or legislation because it was designed by God and graciously given to mankind for His glory and our good.
“As our Creator, God has dominion over His world and the ordering of life therein, which includes marriage. Therefore, Kentucky Baptists oppose any reach for authority over God that seeks to reject or forsake His design for marriage as a solemn union between one man and one woman. Despite what many will say, the so-called 'Respect for Marriage Act' is disrespectful toward God and ultimately unloving toward others because it attempts to codify and celebrate the rejection of God’s design for life in His world that will serve to weaken the fabric of our society and threaten our stability."
Also of concern, said Carroll, is that the bill would not protect religious schools or faith-based nonprofits such as adoption and foster care providers.
“We oppose this legislation because it fails to provide adequate protections for the religious liberties of Christian organizations that maintain a biblical view of marriage," he said. "Not only does this Act bring our society farther into perilous waters it creates a tenuous environment for our churches. Therefore, we are thankful for the members of our congressional delegation who represented us well by voting “no” to this bill.”
The measure, a high priority for congressional Democrats, won a key test vote Wednesday when 12 Senate Republicans joined all Democrats to forward the bill for a final vote in the coming days. At least 10 GOP senators were needed for that to happen.
The letter to the congressmen states: “Kentucky Baptists stand ready to work with you to uphold the biblical principles that have helped make the United States what President Ronald Reagan once called ‘the shining city on a hill.’”