The future of same-sex marriage was a focus for most of the speakers and the audience gathered in a central Iowa church this weekend. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments tomorrow in a case that could make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
“States should be the ones to make that decision,” said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who drew whistles and enthusiastic applause from the crowd of evangelical Christians gathered at the Point of Grace mega-church in Waukee — even though Walker was the final of nine likely competitors for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination who spoke in a five-hour-long program.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the next to last speaker, argued Christians are “called to stand and fight” on this issue.
“This week I introduced in the United States Senate a constituional amendment to preserve the authority of the states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Cruz said, to applause and cheers.
2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, said Christians who believe in traditional marriage are under attack.
“I’m not backing off because what I’m saying is true,” Huckabee said. “We are criminalizing Christianity in this country.”
It was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who drew the loudest cheers — and two standing ovations from the audience — for his declaration on the subject. Jindal began his speech, however, by talking about his own conversion to Christianity.
“I had an overnight epiphany that only took about seven years to happen,” Jindal said, drawing laughter and many nods from the crowd.
Jindal said his views on marriage aren’t “evolving with the times” like President Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s — and he classified this fight over marriage as part of the culture war with “Hollywood and the media elites.”
“The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America and it’s the reason we’re here today,” Jindal said, to thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the program’s first speaker, said “thousands of years of human history” prove the family is the “most basic cell of society.”
“The institution of marriage as one-man and one-woman existed before our laws existed,” Rubio said, to applause.
An ABC/Washington Post poll conducted nationally in mid-April found 61 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage and some in the GOP have said they hope the party’s presidential nominating contest would focus on other issues. In 2009, Iowa became the third state in the country where same-sex marriages were legal and over the past six years the issue has dimmed for many, but it remains a key rallying point for Christian conservatives and they are an important voting block in the Iowa Caucuses.