New group hosts discussion on marriage and family

August 21, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

A new local group, Citizens for Strong Families, held an Interfaith and Community Conference on Defending Marriage and Family Friday evening.

The group is calling for citizens to stand "steadfast and immovable" on family issues.

About 25 people attended the event at the Matthew S. Hurley Auction Co.'s Legacy Center near Greencastle. Organizers had set up for about 500 people.

"Marriage and family is an issue there's a lot of apathy about," said Brandi Husband, leader of the group. "There aren't many warriors in this battle."


Michelle Piercy, a volunteer with Citizens for Strong Families, said that she and Husband attended a conference of the Family Action Council International in Kensington, Md., and left with the thought that to improve the nation, you start with your own family and with a desire to educate the community about issues of marriage and family.

"This is an evolving group," Piercy said. "We're just starting."

Also sparking the formation of the group were the efforts in society to redefine marriage, Piercy said.

Mark Martin, a clinical social worker at Brook Lane Health Services in Hagerstown, gave historical perspective to the issue.

"This is the second time in America's 228-year history that there has been a volatile debate on marriage," he said.

In the second half of the 19th century, the country was deeply divided over how marriage should be legally defined. The issue then was polygamy, he said.

"The highest court was involved then, and probably will be on same-sex marriage," Martin said.

"If same-sex marriage is granted legal approval, then society is saying that it approves of the homosexual behavior that occurs within that relationship," he added.

The Rev. Lynn Wakefield, a Greencastle resident who has served as a school administrator for 28 years, said children understand "what is modeled before them more that what they are told."

"What we get in the classroom are students who are living out the values they have learned in their homes," Wakefield said.

He added that the emotional health of a child is based on their parents' love for them.

"It gives them the ability to withstand what life gives them," Wakefield said.

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