LA MESA, Calif. A California pastorwho was instrumental in getting the Protect Marriage Amendment on the November ballotsaid opponents of same-sex marriage should not lose heart that the state began issuing such licenses on June 16.
"This battle is far from over, is far from being lost," said Jim Garlow, the senior pastor at Skyline Church. "It's a very winnable war, so we push forward."
Garlow and several other San Diego pastors crisscrossed the state from October to April in support of the Protect Marriage initiative. The petition, which garnered more than 1.1 million signatures, qualified for the ballot in June.
Garlow acknowledged that it is easy to become disillusioned with the widespread coverage of gay couples getting married. In many instances, he said, gay rights advocates, with the help of mainstream media, have tried to normalize the process by only featuring long-term homosexual couples, many of them senior citizens.
"The reality is, that for certain individuals, particularly among homosexual males, even those in long-term, committed relationships, monogamy is not the norm," the pastor said.
Even with the prominence of the gay marriages, Garlow said he believes many Californians are turned off by what they see as a judiciary that is trumping their rights at the ballot box.
"I would contend that it works the other way," he said. "When people are looking at the in-your-face headlines and all the stories of same-sex couples getting married, they will realize how serious the situation is."
Garlow said about 35 percent of Californians are firmly in support of traditional marriage, with about the same percentage in favor of same-sex marriage. That leaves, he said, another 30 percent who are in the "mushy middle."
"That is who both sides are trying to attract," the pastor said.
Many of those people do not attend church regularly but still have a strong sense of what's right and wrong.
"They have enough sense of moral truth within them that they are going to be offended by the blatant arrogance of the radical homosexual movement," he said.
He said he's already seeing the effect on the state's pastors who have rallied in support of the traditional marriage amendment. A last-minute briefing session for pastors, for instance, has yielded at least 73 different teleconference sites across the state.
"Pastors are getting together on very short notice," he said. "That means people canceled appointments, changed schedules. They did everything to make these meetings.
"Never in the history of the California have pastors been so united from all over the state."
Not to be outdone by the pastors, numerous parachurch and traditional family lobby groups are also getting behind the effort.
"Thirty-five organizations have laid down their logos, laid down their egos and have united under the umbrella of the Protect Marriage coalition," he said.