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Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land and other religious leaders Dec. 6 urged Americans to stand together in protecting the traditional understanding of marriage for the good of society.

The president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and representatives of 25 other religious organizations issued an open letter affirming their commitment to marriage as the union only of a man and a woman. They also explained in the three-paragraph letter such a view of marriage benefits all people, not just people of faith.

“The preservation of the unique meaning of marriage is not a special or limited interest but serves the good of all,” the letter said. “Therefore, we invite and encourage all people, both within and beyond our faith communities, to stand with us in promoting and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

The letter was released on the same day the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard oral arguments in a case regarding the definition of marriage. The court is considering an appeal of federal Judge Vaughn Walker’s August invalidation of California’s 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment that protected the traditional definition of marriage. If the case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court and Walker’s ruling stands, then every state could be forced to recognize “marriage” between homosexuals.