Baptist and Reflector
Amendment 1 was approved by Tennessee voters by a 53-47 percent margin on Nov. 4, 2014. Seven days later, eight pro-abortion activists filed a legal challenge in Federal Court contesting the manner in which the state tabulated the votes, claiming discrimination against pro-abortion supporters.
The Tennessee Constitution states that for a ballot measure to succeed it must be passed by a “majority of all the citizens of the state voting for governor voting in their favor.”
According to The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville, “election officials contend that means ballot measures must receive a majority of the number of votes cast for governor to succeed.” Those who challenged the measure in court argued that phrase “requires the same voters must vote for governor and a ballot measure for their votes to count,” The Tennessean reported.
Some proponents of Amendment 1 had encouraged voters to abstain voting for governor in order “for their vote to carry more weight in favor of the abortion measure,” according to the paper.
In April 2016, a U.S. District Court judge agreed with the pro-abortion activists and demanded a recount of the votes while a Williamson County judge upheld the state’s interpretation of voting methods. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state in January of this year, forcing the pro-abortion activists to appeal to the Supreme Court. The highest court declined to take up the case, leaving the lower court’s decision in effect and affirming Amendment 1.
The Tennessee Baptist Mission Board was a strong supporter of Amendment 1 in 2014.
“In 2014 Tennessee Baptists were front and center fighting for the adoption of Amendment 1,” recalled Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB.
“I’ve never been prouder of our pastors, laypeople and directors of missions working so hard to see that vitally important change to our state constitution. It was a great victory for the unborn in 2014 and today’s news from the U.S. Supreme Court is another victory for the unborn,” he observed.
“We must be vigilant to ensure that common sense laws are put into place in Tennessee to reflect that our state values every life,” Davis added.
Brian Harris of Tennessee Right to Life said Oct. 1 that “today’s announcement is cause for great celebration among Tennessee’s pro-life movement.
“This is the culmination of many years work and Tennessee Right to Life is especially grateful to our state’s voters, legislators, election officials and Attorney General (Herbert) Slatery for staying the course,” Harris said.