Tuesday, June 21, 2011Download All Stories
New York 'gay marriage' bill faces decision timeIf gay marriage is legalized in N.Y. 'Republicans will be responsible because they control the chamber.'ALBANY, N.Y. (BP)--With the legislative session in overtime and the votes of a handful of Republican state senators up for grabs, the fate of a "gay marriage" bill that would make New York the largest and most influential state to redefine marriage remained uncertain Tuesday.
-- Maggie Gallagher
The dynamics of the issue were changing every few hours, and it was possible the body could pass the bill Wednesday or even adjourn without voting on it.
It has put the GOP-led Senate in a dilemma. Although nearly every member of the 32-member caucus opposes it, the bill is one vote shy of passage, and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo -- popular in the state -- is exerting considerable pressure on the body. The Democratic-controlled Assembly already passed the bill.
Republicans control the chamber, 32-30. Two Republicans and 29 Democrats support the bill, which needs 32 votes to pass. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos left a meeting with Cuomo Tuesday saying the men had worked out agreements on unrelated issues -- rent regulations and local property taxes, among them -- but had not come to an agreement on "gay marriage," the Albany Times-Union reported. Skelos has said some members of his caucus want the bill to have more religious freedom protections. The GOP caucus was scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Eastern.
Republicans took control of the chamber in 2010, but opponents of the bill warn the GOP will lose control in 2012 if it allows a vote on the bill and it passes. GOP state Sen. Greg Ball -- who is undecided -- said calls and letters from his district are about 60 percent opposed to the bill, Politico.com reported.
The National Organization for Marriage has pledged to spend $1 million in 2012 to defeat any GOP senator who supports the bill.
"It's a really bad idea for the Republican majority in the Senate to be doing [New York] Mayor Bloomberg and Andrew Cuomo's bidding on this," National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher said in a TV interview Monday. "I think it's going to be a political disaster for the Republican Party in New York."
If it passes, Gallagher said, "Republicans will be responsible because they control the chamber."
Bill opponents said no amount of religious freedom protections would be sufficient to gain their support. For instance, they said that whatever amendments are added to the bill, nothing would prevent "gay marriage" from being discussed as normal in elementary schools, as it has in some other states where it is legal. Read More
Ariz. victims thankful for 'priceless' DR helpSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (BP)--As Arizona's Wallow Fire moves past 50 percent containment, Southern Baptists are transitioning from relief to recovery work and preparing to assist victims of the Monument Fire in the southern part of the state if needed. Read More
Updated: Gay leaders meet with SBC pres.
PHOENIX (BP)--A coalition of homosexual leaders and their allies met for more than 30 minutes June 15 with Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright, with the leaders demanding an apology from the SBC and Wright refusing to budge, saying that Scripture is clear on the issue. Read More
U.S. needs 'bivocational pastor movement'
PHOENIX (BP)--Small churches and bivocational pastors are a Great Commission powerhouse, a North American Mission Board leader told the Bivocational Small Church Leadership Network during the SBC annual meeting in Phoenix. Read More
Baptist associations: 'a biblical model'
PHOENIX (BP)--The future of the Baptist association is on solid footing, a Southern Baptist leader said, because the organization of churches within regional groups is based on a biblical model.
"The future of the association is bright," Ken Hemphill said. "I believe it's a biblical model," therefore "survival is solved."
"The question is, will it thrive or survive?" Hemphill asked at the June 12 plenary session of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Director of Missions a... Read More
'Annie' givers receive NAMB’s thanks
PHOENIX (BP)--The North American Mission Board honored more than 160 representatives of small and large churches who were among the top givers to the 2010 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions during a luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention.
NAMB invited the top givers in each Southern Baptist association, in terms of both total and per capita giving.
"One of the great blessings of being the president of the North American Mission Board this past year is the ... Read More
COSBE lifts evangelism, laments funding cuts
PHOENIX (BP)--The need for renewed evangelism, concerns about Calvinism and comments regarding North American Mission Board budget cuts were voiced during the annual evangelists-sponsored worship service prior to the SBC annual meeting.
The Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists' gathering June 12, with the theme "Ageless Urgency," featured three preachers: Eric Fuller, Harold Hunter and Brian Fossett.
"If there was ever a time that evangelism needed to be at the forefront, now is ... Read More
B21 panel looks at GCR, missions, theology
PHOENIX (BP)--The push in 2010 for a Great Commission Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention was not a push for more programs, as much as it was an ambition to recover the Gospel among Southern Baptist churches, according to several members of a panel at a Baptist21 luncheon June 14.
About 700 guests listened as Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern B... Read More
Dever, Patterson share wide-ranging dialogue
PHOENIX (BP)--Calling themselves "men of yesterday" in the Southern Baptist Convention, 9Marks founder Mark Dever and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson told younger pastors June 13 they should heed the wisdom of previous generations that upheld biblical authority and sound doctrine.
Speaking at a "9Marks at 9" gathering following the Monday evening session of the SBC Pastors' Conference, Dever said: "I didn't invent these things. These are the things our gr... Read More
Ministers' wives focus on influential joy
PHOENIX (BP)--Even when she contracted malaria during a mission trip to Africa, and even after learning her brother was killed instantly in a biking accident, Anne Wright was able to experience "influential joy."
Wright, wife of SBC President Bryant Wright, spoke to a sold-out crowd of more than 800 during the Southern Baptist Ministers' Wives Conference, underscoring the promise of Psalm 16:11, which says, in part: "You will fill me with joy in your presence."
"As we allow God to spe... Read More
Susie Hawkins receives ministers' wives award
PHOENIX (BP)--Susie Hawkins was honored with the 2011 Willie Turner Dawson Award during the Ministers' Wives Conference at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
Hawkins is the wife of O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources and a former pastor's wife in Oklahoma, Florida and Texas.
In presenting the award June 14 in Phoenix, Donna Gaines praised Hawkins' service on the Baptist Faith and Message Committee "that presented us with our 2000 statement of faith."... Read More
Kay Warren recounts lessons in suffering
PHOENIX (BP)--When suffering came into her life, Kay Warren's natural response was to view it as an enemy she needed to fight and push away. "I want it gone and I want it gone now," she told the Pastors' Wives Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention's Pastors' Conference June 13.
Warren began searching the Scriptures 18 months ago for every mention of darkness when she felt overwhelmed by two bouts with cancer, five surgeries, the deaths of close family members and serious health chal... Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Church planting -- a winning strategy
Ethicist and columnist Barrett Duke says the SBC's focus on church planting will lead not only to more decisions for Christ but could also help lead to a revitalization of the culture. Read More