Groups begin campaigns against same-sex unions

WASHINGTON: Conservative organizations are going on the offensive to prevent the possible legalization of gay marriage in the United States.

WASHINGTON: Conservative organizations are going on the offensive to prevent the possible legalization of gay marriage in the United States.

Groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) and the Eagle Forum are increasingly concerned about the victories of gay-rights activists this year, which include a June US Supreme Court decision striking down anti-sodomy laws in Texas to the legalization of same-sex unions in Canada. Now, a number of these groups are launching national campaigns to prevent gay couples from gaining the right to wed.

"Marriage is the most fundamental of institutions," said Jim Lafferty, spokesman for TVC,

a nondenominational lobbying coalition of more than 43,000 churches. "If somehow marriage is undercut, it dramatically changes a whole slew of other issues in popular culture."

The organization is sending out 1.5 million mailings to its parishioners this month, advising them to contact their members of Congress and encouraging them to talk to the media about the issue.

"We've been sold this myth that you have to separate church from state, that you cannot talk about religion in the public arena. We don't feel that's true at all. We think the basic values that Christians, Jews, and other denominations share should impact public policy," offered Lafferty.

The TVC is not alone in its efforts. Eagle Forum, a conservative advocacy group founded by activist Phyllis Schlafly, is stepping up lobbying efforts in favor of a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The same group has for decades successfully helped keep the Equal Rights Amendment from passage.

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