MARRIAGE WINS in Tennessee - 81.3% to 18.7%
To all that worked tirelessly on the marriage amendment, let me say a PROFOUND THANK YOU. Because of the all reports we received about votes mistakenly cast, we had prayed that the Lord would restore 2 to 1 what the "locust had eaten". I believe God answered that prayer abundantly and we can rejoice!!
Remember that getting the majority of vote would not mean success. The State Constitution requires that amendments receive 50%+1 of the votes cast in the governor's race. Looking at the figures available, there were 1,810,140 votes cast in the governor's race. That means that the amendment needed to receive 905,070 to pass. Praise the Lord, it received 1,414,562 votes. It was worth twelve hours in the rain at my precinct and all the EVERYONE did all across the state. As an aside, a number of people thanked me for being there to remind folks about the vote in the amendment.
A couple of highlights from the CNN exit poll statistics: Contrary to what might have been expected we got a 77% vote from the 18-29 age group. Self identified liberals voted for the amendment by 52%.
For remainder, go to: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006//pages/results/states/TN/I/01/epolls.0.html
WHAT A TRIP!!October 30 - November 4, 2006
First, let me thank you profusely for all the faithful prayers that ascended on behalf of our "Vote YES on 1" bus tour. God answered your prayers ABUNDANTLY!! On our five-day, 25 stop trip we traveled 1535 miles with no mechanical problems, no highway accidents, no significant delays and lovely fall weather to enjoy the beauty of the state. Thank you so much!!
I had precious little time at the computer on the trip, but wanted to give you a more detailed account of the bus tour. NOTE: I realize now that I should have made notes along the way, but didn't do a good job of that until late in the week, so if I have left any legislator out, please forgive me.
We have done everything we know to do to promote the vote; Ephesians 6:13b, "having done all, stand". Now I am asking you to do THREE things. First PRAY: Pray that any confusion will be broken and based on Joel 2:25 ask God to redeem 2 to 1, the votes mistakenly cast. Secondly: If you have a yard sign, early on Tuesday morning take it to your local polling place and put it out with the other candidate signs. If you can stay and hold it and encourage people to vote YES, please do that two. Lastly, I am confident that you know at least five people who don't know this is on the ballot. PLEASE contact them and urge them to vote YES on 1!!
I left home at 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning to get to the bus in Franklin and arrived back at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. I joined retiring Sen. David Fowler (now President of the Family Action Council of Tennessee --http://www.factn.org/), and former State Sen. Jim Holcomb on our great adventure. David's daughter Allison and consultant Jonathan Rummel were with us on the first day.
In this non-partisan effort, every state senator and state house member who had voted for the proposed amendment and every candidate (state and federal) who had returned a "Pledge of Support" were invited to either join us at one of the stops or to ride with us on any part of the tour. At almost every stop we would have a number of local elected officials join the rallies.
For schedule, go to: http://www.realmarriage.org/tour.html
Jason Frodge and Jonathan Mason were our terrific 'advance men'. They would go ahead of us, set up the PA system and put the flags up so that when we stepped off the bus everything was ready. After they program they would pass out yard signs and bumper stickers. We had two great guys who were our bus drivers - the first three days we had Bill Mims and the last three days we had John Shackleford. We REALLY appreciate all the hard work these guys did to make the trip a success.
The general program included a welcome by Sen. Fowler, an invocation by a local minister, sometimes some special music. Then former Sen. Holcomb would speak to the issue from the perspective of 34 years' experience as a Marriage and Family Counselor who has successfully treated many people dealing with some confusion about sexual orientation. He included the history of how the homosexual community lobbied to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual as a psychological dysfunction that can be treated, and his experience as the sponsor of the state law defining marriage and how important is was to remove that law from the power of the court by putting it in the Constitution.
Then I would speak about the meaning of marriage, the unique qualities that men and women bring to that relationship, its public status and purpose as the substructure for the superstructure of our society, the importance of strong families. I also covered the need of children to be in a home with a married mother and daddy and that mothers and daddies are not "optional accessories". I ended with the consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage that we have seen in Massachusetts.
Sen. Fowler would close the program speaking to the fact that there are some unchangeable things in our world - regardless of what we 'name' them - marriage, gravity, squares, circles. He went on to say that marriage, the foundation of civilization, one of those things which when destroyed diminishes us all and that we put into our Constitution the things that we hold most dear and that we want to protect.
He would close by asking everyone who had a yard sign to take it to their local voting location and put it there on election day so that the voters will see it.
At the majority of the stops, we did received media coverage.
Our first event was at the Williamson County Courthouse were a good size crowd had gathered including Rep. Bill Dunn (House prime sponsor), Rep. Glen Casada, state senate candidate Jack Johnson, Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith and his wife Debbie along with RMO Board member David Maddox. A number of children led by my best friend's daughter Veronica and son Bennett, waved yard signs and chanted, "YES on 1, YES on 1."
The next stop was in Murfreesboro at the Rutherford County Courthouse where we were joined by Rep. Donna Rowland, Sen. Bill Ketron, candidates Oscar Gardner and Joe Carr as well as a good number of other people.
It was back on the bus to travel to First Baptist Church on Manchester where an enthusiastic crowd welcomed us and Rep. Judd Matheny joined the rally. We enjoyed a great rendition of "God Bless America."
Our next stop was at the Marion County Courthouse in Jasper where House candidate Iva Michelle Russell joined the group to give us a warm welcome.
From there we went on the Morris Hill Baptist Church in Chattanooga where Pastor Bill Morris welcomed us. What a great service we enjoyed. The choir sang two inspiring songs and Chris McDaniel of "Confederate Railroad" fame sang a song that he had written for the occasion. Sen. Fowler brought a stirring message from the Word of God. Retiring Rep. Chris Clem and Senator-elect Bo Watson joined the large crowd. House Candidate Richard Floyd.
Our first stop on this beautiful fall day was at the famous Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton. Congressman Zach Wamp joined the group under the falling yellow leaves!
We then traveled on to the Pathway Bookstore parking lot in Cleveland where we had our first protesters. A couple of girls pulled up in a pickup truck hand held up "Vote NO" signs.
After that stop, it was on the Courthouse Annex in Athens to a fairly large crowd that included state House candidates Mike Bell and Jimmy Matlock as well as Senator-elect Rep. Dewayne Bunch. There were a number of local officials joining us at this rally.
One of the highlights of the trip was the Old WalMart parking lot in Lenoir City. When we arrived there was a good size crowd already there, but folks just kept coming. Under Pastor Doug Sager's able leadership, there must have been well over 250 at this rally. It certainly was invigorating. After that enjoyable visit we headed to Knoxville.
Because it was Halloween and many churches were involved in alternative activities, we joined a church festival at the Knoxville Expo Center where we passed out yard signs and bumper stickers. Sen. Raymond Finney and Rep. Bill Dunn attended this rally. To our delight, we learned that each 'goodie' bag given to the participants contained a flyer urging support for Amendment # 1.
At the next stop, the Greene County Courthouse in Greeneville there was a good size crowd. Sen. Jim Bryson got on the bus and was with us the rest of the day. Also joining us were Sen. Steve Southerland, Rep. David Hawk, Rep. David Davis, and House candidate Charlotte Leibrock. There were a couple of lesbians that sat on a bench near the rally and were interviewed by the media covering the rally.
The next stop was the Colonial Height Baptist Church in Kingsport. On the edge of town we picked up Rep. Nathan Vaughn who joined Sen. Jim Bryson riding to the rally. We were warmly welcomed and Rep. David Davis joined the group. (Rep. Davis is a candidate for congress, District 1.)
Then it was on to Bristol where we were in for a treat. Retiring state Rep. Steve Godsey, now Sullivan County Mayor sang, "I'm proud to be an American'. We didn't know Steve had such talent!! In the group were Sen. Jim Bryson, Rep. David Davis, Rep. Matthew Hill and House candidate Jon Lundberg.
The last event of the day was a wonderful rally at the Heritage Baptist Church in Johnson City. The special music was excellent and we were joined by Sen. Jim Bryson, Rep. David Davis, Sen. Rusty Crowe, Rep. Matthew Hill and Rep. Jerome Cochran. Sen. Fowler brought another challenging Biblical message. A number of homosexuals wearing Vote NO tee shirts attended the rally. While they were not disruptive, after the service, they did engage some on the attendees in conversation.
We had experienced lovely mild weather until Thursday. The day dawned bright, clear, and VERY cold. Our first stop was at the Cumberland County Courthouse Square in Crossville were we spoke from a lovely structure that provided a great backdrop. Rep. Eric Swafford joined the brave group who listened attentively to the program.
Then we moved to the quaint and lovely Depot Museum in Cookeville. It was still very cold, but we had an enthusiastic group. I did get heckled a little by a "Vote No" supporter who shouted, "Why don't you outlaw divorce", but just ignored her and continued my presentation. Afterwards I went over, took her hand and thanked her for her comment saying that I agreed with her that divorce is an awful problem and that it has been devastating to families. I added that we certainly didn't know the consequences of starting 'no fault' divorce 30 years ago and that was one more reason for us not to experiment with same-sex marriage now. With an odd expression on her face, she quietly said, 'thank you.'
The next stop was at the Wilson County Courthouse in Lebanon where the cold wind was really blowing hard. However, that did not dampen the enthusiasm of those attending including Sen. Mae Beavers.
Our next stop was at the Farmer's Bank in Springfield where a wonderful, talented youth choir sang beautifully for the crowd. By the end of this rally the sun was down and the temperature had dropped even more.
The last stop of the day was at the Clarksville First Assembly of God. Clarksville First Assembly of God Church where the Pastor Louie Montoya and a church full of people welcomed us with open arms. The spirit of the Lord filled that place with His lovely presence!! The rally had been well planned and well advertised and Rep. Curtis Johnson, other local candidates joined us, and House candidate Ken Takasaki stopped by on his way the his commission meeting. When I looked out over that congregation, I had to comment - "this is what a church is supposed to look like -- red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in HIS sight!!" After Jim Holcomb and I spoke David Fowler spoke from the Word a sermon that touched all our hearts. To top it all off, the pastor went to the podium and announced that an offering would be taken for RealMarriage.Org. My eyes filled with tears as these folks of modest means gave so generously to a cause to which they are completely committed then the pastor took us out to dinner. How blessed we were and how energized we were with the love, kindness and generosity these precious people lavished on us!! RMO fundraiser Laura Roberts joined the bus tour in Clarksville.
The day started VERY early for us to arrive at 9:30 at the Weakley County Courthouse in Dresden. We jumped off the bus in Paris to pick up the breakfast some lovely folks had prepared for us, then quickly back on the road to Dresden. The day was bright and clear, but still cold. We were welcomed by an eager group and Mitzi Doster had made these great mini-posters by using the RealMarriage.Org postcards and gluing them on wood tongue depressors. It was a great visual. Sen. Roy Herron, Rep. Mark Maddox, and House candidate David Hawks joined the rally.
We got back on the road and as we got into Jackson we picked up Ed and Cyndi Bryant, Sharon Theobald and several others then traveled on to the Madison County Courthouse where Sen. Don McLeary and Rep. Jimmy Eldridge joined us.
We then traveled to the Haywood County Courthouse in Brownsville where the entire grounds were covered with large American Flags. We thought maybe they were for us, but it was for another purpose. It certainly made a great backdrop for our rally as Rep. Delores Gresham joined us for this event.
Then is was off to the AgriCenter in East Memphis where we had an good size enthusiastic crowd that include RMO Board member Dr. Les Binkley, Congressman Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Paul Stanley, congressional candidate Mark White.
The last stop of the tour was at Bloomfield Full Gospel Church in Memphis where we enjoyed the special music by a ladies trio and after we did our program, we had a presentation by Dr. Bill Owens, chairman of the Coalition of African American Pastors.
Rep. Brian Kelsey joined the rally.
On Saturday morning we headed back to Franklin an arrived there about noon.
|Below are pictures from the Vote Yes On #1, 25 Stop Bus Tour!
Click on each image for a larger view.