COMMENTARY: BIG WINNERS IN PROP 2 CAMPAIGN by Tom Pauken
by Tom Pauken    Thu, Nov 10, 2005, 05:45 PM

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Tom Pauken
Kelly Shackelford, David Lane, Cathie Adams, Dr. Laurence White, and Bishop John Yanta may not be household names to most Texans; but they were big winners Tuesday night as Texas voters approved Proposition 2, the Marriage Amendment, by a margin of more than 3-1. The Amendment changes the Texas Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman while banning same sex marriage.

Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel of the Liberty Legal Institute, helped draft the amendment which was shepherded through the Texas legislature by Representative Warren Chisum of Pampa. Shackelford also chaired the statewide campaign to pass Proposition 2. In so doing, he solidified his reputation as the lawyer social conservatives turn to in Texas – and nationally – for legal advice.

David Lane, the Executive Director of the Texas Restoration Project, mobilized Texas Pastors in a campaign to turn out their church members in support of the Marriage Amendment. Over 100,000 new voters registered in Texas between September 1st and October 15th when the church registration campaign was in full swing. In light of the final results, most of those must have been registering to vote for Proposition 2 which drove the turnout at the polls in this off-election year. By the end of the campaign, some 2000 Texas Pastors were involved in getting out the vote for Prop 2.

David Lane also was heavily involved in mobilizing Pastors and church members in Ohio during the 2004 election cycle when a similar issue was on the ballot there. Voter turnout in support of the marriage amendment in Ohio is widely credited with ensuring George W. Bush’s narrow victory over John Kerry in that state. Ohio provided the President with the electoral votes he needed to win the national election. Lane showed once again with the Prop 2 victory that he is the most effective organizer in the country when it comes to mobilizing evangelical ministers and their church members on pro-family, pro-life issues.

The Chairman of the Texas Restoration Project was Dr. Laurence White, Pastor of Savior Lutheran Church in Houston. Known as one of the most eloquent speakers in religious circles on pro-life issues, Dr. White has emerged as a highly respected evangelical leader in the ongoing cultural battles being waged in Texas and elsewhere over issues such as abortion and homosexual rights.

Texas Catholic Bishops ran their own campaign in support of the Marriage Amendment, and Bishop John Yanta of Amarillo made his presence felt on the issue among Texas Catholics by making a recorded message which went out to approximately a million Texas voters. Bishop Yanta has been a longtime leader of the pro-life movement in Texas and recently accepted into his diocese a new religious order of pro-life priests.

Cathie Adams worked with Black and Hispanic church leaders who urged their congregations to vote in favor of the Marriage Amendment. A Plano resident, Adams heads the Texas Eagle Forum, a branch of the national pro-family organization headed up by Phyllis Schlafly. During the campaign. Mrs. Adams helped bring into the campaign a number of minority leaders who turned out their followers in support of the Marriage Amendment. Prop 2 even carried by a 2-1 margin in Dallas County, which is split down the middle politically between the Republicans and Democrats. Minority support for Prop 2 made a big difference in the final results here in Dallas.

On the political front, this has to be a big boost for Governor Rick Perry who is up for re-election next year. The Governor put his prestige on the line from the beginning of the campaign, and it paid off for him. He faces a tough primary race against Comptroller Carole Strayhorn, and Perry has solidified his base with social conservatives as he gears up his campaign for re-election.

There were many others who worked actively to pull off the big margin for the Marriage Amendment in the November 8th election. But the leaders I mentioned – Kelly Shackelford, David Lane, Cathie Adams, Dr. Laurence White, and Bishop John Yanta – deserve a lot of the credit for what happened on Tuesday.

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