Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen joined a diverse group of clergy members today in Richmond and reaffirmed his support for laws prohibiting same sex marriage.
“I think it’s really important to protect the values and the will of the people of Virginia,” Allen said while flanked by about three dozen faith leaders at Community Baptist Church.
President Barack Obama elevated the marriage issue in May when he announced that he supports gay marriage. Virginia voters in 2006 passed a state constitutional amendment affirming its ban on same-sex marriage, an amendment Allen supports.
“That’s the will of the people,” said Allen, a former governor and senator. “This is a representative democracy. And that ought to be enforced and upheld.”
Democratic candidate Tim Kaine favors “relationship equality” that would effectively give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples. But Kaine also maintains that churches should remain free to decide what unions they will recognize for religious purposes, a spokeswoman said. Kaine also supports repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Allen today also criticized a provision of the federal health care overhaul that requires contraception coverage in health care plans, including for employees of religious-affiliated institutions.
“This is not an issue of contraception,” Allen said. “I do not want to ban contraceptives. This is an issue of religious liberty and religious freedom.”
Allen touched on those issues before making the pivot to jobs, which he called “by far the biggest concern on the minds of people throughout our commonwealth.”
“If one has a job, they’re taking care of themselves,” Allen said. “They’re not dependent on someone else. I think life is a quest to be independent, self-reliant.”
The clergy backing Allen today included Bishop E.W. Jackson, one of three Republican candidates Allen defeated in the June GOP primary.
“I have to tell you that the family is under grave assault,” Jackson said. “ And Governor Allen seems to know that as well as anybody that I have listened to or talked to. He understands that not only must the family not be tinkered with, not be redefined, not have social engineering games played with it, but he also understands that the best program to strengthen the family is a job.”
– Michael Sluss