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No. 6

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Students Launch Program to Protect Traditional Marriage

This fall, students at Patrick Henry College and other campuses across Virginia diverted their attention from their usual routines to rally support for a state constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage.

“I am excited to announce the formation of Students-for-Marriage,” said PHC junior Nick Timpe, state director for the student coalition. “As this new organization joins hands with other proponents of the marriage amendment, I am hopeful that our efforts will help bring about great success.”

PHC students take a break from studying to raise awareness for Virginia’s proposed constitutional marriage amendment.

The goal of Students-for-Marriage was threefold: to inform the public about Ballot Question 1, otherwise known as the Marshall-Newman Marriage Amendment, defining marriage as being between one man and one woman; to get out the vote for the November 7 state election; and to show Virginians that college students do, in fact, care about preserving traditional marriage. While college campuses are often accurately perceived as bastions of liberalism and many are openly hostile to traditional values, Students-for-Marriage was a conservative voice at the university level.

“To achieve our goals, we held parades and hosted marriage rallies on campuses across the state,” said Nick. There, PHC students engaged liberals from other campuses in the debate over traditional marriage and the merits of the marriage amendment. Other activities included voter awareness outreach projects, transportation services to regional events, and the statewide networking of churches.

Working in conjunction with the va4marriage.org campaign, sponsored by The Family Foundation, Timpe was part of a coalition of PHC students dedicated to organizing local and regional chapters for Students-for-Marriage on college campuses across the state. As new chapters emerged, student coordinators on other campuses tapped into va4marriage.org’s preexisting grassroots structure, expanding the platform for public awareness and activism. As this issue of the Court Report went to press, Timpe said that students from 20 campuses had formed their own chapters. Participating campuses included the College of William and Mary, James Madison University, George Mason University, Regent University, and Virginia Tech, among others.

Opposition groups such as the “Vote No” coalition vowed to defeat the marriage amendment, and spent millions of dollars to derail the measure.

“By Election Day, opponents will have outspent supporters of the amendment ten-to-one,” predicted PHC junior and Students-for-Marriage Campus Coordinator Caleb Dalton.

“Still, the greatest obstacle to passing the amendment is apathy among the conservative ranks, fed by the assumption that the amendment will pass without effort. This is the issue that Students-for-Marriage was made to address.”