[Congressional Record Volume 152, Number 94 (Tuesday, July 18, 2006)]
[Pages H5287-H5321]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I 
call up House Resolution 918 and ask for its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

                              H. Res. 918

       Resolved, That upon the adoption of this resolution it 
     shall be in order without intervention of any point of order 
     to consider in the House the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 88) 
     proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United 
     States relating to marriage. The joint resolution shall be 
     considered as read. The previous question shall be considered 
     as ordered on the joint resolution to final passage without 
     intervening motion except: (1) one hour and 30 minutes of 
     debate equally divided and controlled by the Majority Leader 
     and the Minority Leader or their designees; and (2) one 
     motion to recommit.
       Sec. 2. During consideration of H.J. Res. 88 pursuant to 
     this resolution, notwithstanding the operation of the 
     previous question, the Chair may postpone further 
     consideration of the joint resolution to a time designated by 
     the Speaker.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey) is 
recognized for 1 hour.
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield 30 
minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), pending 
which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration 
of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.
  Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 918 is a closed rule. It provides 1 
hour and 30 minutes of debate in the House equally divided and 
controlled by the majority leader and the minority leader or their 
designees. This resolution waives all points of order against 
consideration of the joint resolution, it provides one motion to 
recommit, and it provides that during consideration of the joint 
resolution, notwithstanding the operation of the previous question, the 
Chair may postpone further consideration of the joint resolution to a 
time designated by the Speaker.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 918 and the 
underlying joint resolution, H.J. Res. 88, the Marriage Protection Act.
  First, I would like to thank Representative Marilyn Musgrave, the 
author and lead sponsor of this constitutional amendment, for her 
steadfast commitment to the preservation of traditional marriage.
  As the manager of this rule and an original cosponsor of the 
underlying joint resolution, I am very pleased the House will have an 
opportunity today to consider and debate this very important amendment 
to our Constitution.
  Mr. Speaker, the proceeding debate, both on the rule and the 
underlying resolution, either can be divisive and disrespectful, or it 
can be respectful and productive. This amendment has nothing whatsoever 
to do with exclusion, but it has everything to do with protecting the 
traditional and historical definition of marriage as a union between 
one man and one woman.
  Contrary to what the opponents of this resolution might say today, 
this amendment will simply preserve the

[[Page H5288]]

traditional definition of marriage as it has existed for millennia.
  I anticipate there will be those on the other side who will say this 
amendment was concocted for political purposes. To the contrary, Mr. 
Speaker. This amendment is in response to a few activist judges who are 
trying to throw out the definition of marriage, along with over 200 
years of American judicial precedent.

                              {time}  1030

  These judges, and these judges alone, made this matter an issue, and 
they did so without one vote cast in either a legislature or at the 
ballot box. These activist judges substituted legal precedent and the 
will of the American people with their own personal desires and 
political beliefs. Their decision to scrap the traditional definition 
of marriage has forced us, forced us, to now consider enshrining the 
definition of marriage into our Constitution.
  Mr. Speaker, like most of my colleagues, I would prefer to not have 
to address this issue in this manner. But, unfortunately, I know my 
constituents and a strong majority of the American people want us to 
defend the traditional definition of marriage. A poll by the New York 
Times, not exactly a bastion of right-wing conservatism, they found 
that 59 percent, I repeat, 59 percent, of Americans favor an amendment 
to the Constitution stating that marriage is a union between one man 
and one woman.
  I also, sadly, realize this amendment will probably not have the 
necessary two-thirds majority to pass and opponents will cite this as a 
reason to not even consider the underlying resolution. We heard it in a 
couple of the 1-minute speeches from the other side just a few moments 
ago. Well, this vote will serve as an opportunity for each and every 
Member of this body to go on record in support or in opposition to 
protecting the traditional definition of marriage. And after this vote 
each of us will be judged accordingly by our constituents, and I can 
say with a clear conscience and without hesitation that I will support 
this rule, I will support the underlying resolution for the sake of the 
sacred institution of traditional marriage and for the sake of our 
precious children.
  Mr. Speaker, I also want to encourage my colleagues to support the 
rule and this underlying resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from 
Georgia, Dr. Gingrey, for yielding me the customary 30 minutes, and I 
yield myself 5 minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, I very much regret that the Republican majority in this 
House has brought this bill to the floor. This bill, to put it simply 
and bluntly, is about adding discrimination and intolerance to the 
United States Constitution. This is about the Republican majority's 
once again trying to divide and polarize the Nation. It is about the 
Republican leadership's taking something that should be about love and 
turning it into a weapon of hate.
  I am proud, Mr. Speaker, to be from Massachusetts, the home of the 
Nation's first State Constitution. In Massachusetts over 8,000 same-sex 
couples have been married since May of 2004, when it became legal. I 
should advise my colleagues that Massachusetts has not fallen off the 
map into the Atlantic Ocean. The sun still rises and sets in the 
Commonwealth. The Red Sox still play at Fenway, and life goes on. The 
only thing that is different is that couples of the same sex who love 
each other, want to spend the rest of their lives together, and want to 
get married can do so. It means that men and women who happen to be gay 
are able to enjoy the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as 
men and women who happen to be straight. And, Mr. Speaker, that is how 
it should be.
  Those who have continued to advocate a ban on same-sex marriage are 
on the wrong side of history. There are some here who claim that they 
are on some sort of moral crusade to protect the institution of 
marriage. To them I say worry about your own marriage. I do not need 
you to protect mine. I have been happily married to the same woman for 
17 years without the help or interference of Congress. What we should 
be protecting are the civil and human rights of all Americans.
  The fact that same-sex marriage is legal in my home State has had no 
impact on my marriage except that we were invited to more weddings. 
Same-sex marriage is a threat to no institution, to no individual.
  The underlying bill before us would not only add discrimination to 
the Constitution for the first time in our history. It would repeal, it 
would actually take away, the rights of thousands of Americans. What do 
the supporters of this bill say to the gay couples in Massachusetts who 
are now legally married; our family members, our neighbors, our 
coworkers, the people who sit next to us in church? Do you say your 
marriage is now meaningless and we are going to take away your rights? 
Do you say we are sending you back to second-class citizenship? Do you 
say that we have so much hatred for who you are that we are willing to 
tarnish the United States Constitution?
  Marriage law in this country has traditionally been left to the 
States. Indeed, even in Massachusetts the same supreme judicial court 
that the proponents of this bill decry recently ruled that a referendum 
banning same-sex marriage can go forward. That referendum is currently 
working its way through the process. And I believe, of course, that the 
referendum should and will fail, that the citizens of Massachusetts 
would not vote to turn back the clock. But that should be up to us, Mr. 
Speaker, not to the people of Colorado or Georgia or anywhere else.
  In addition, this bill jeopardizes not just same-sex marriage in 
Massachusetts but domestic partnership and civil union laws in other 
parts of the country. The proposal before us is so poorly drafted that 
legal experts disagree on exactly what effect it will have on those 
laws. That means, of course, that the issue will end up back in the 
courts, which is ironic given the concept of court-bashing by the 
bill's supporters.
  Mr. Speaker, the impact of this debate goes far beyond constitutional 
arguments. The proponents of this bill are contributing to a climate of 
intolerance. We will hear protests from the other side today that they 
have no problem with gay people. Yet here they are arguing that gay 
people do not deserve the same rights as everybody else.
  Mr. Speaker, I am also terribly troubled by the hate spewing from 
some of the outside groups using the same-sex marriage issue to whip up 
emotions and raise money. Mr. Speaker, some of the rhetoric is just 
deplorable. But I doubt that we will hear any of the bill's supporters 
denouncing it here today on the floor.
  My colleagues, discrimination is discrimination, and it should find 
no sanctuary in our Constitution or in our hearts. It should find no 
sanctuary on the floor of the people's House.
  We all know why this proposal is before us. It is an election year, 
and if it is an election year, the Republican leadership will find a 
place on the agenda for gay-bashing.
  This proposal is worse than a distraction. It is not an assault on 
our fellow citizens. It is an attack on a piece of their humanity, and 
I urge you to stand on the right side of history and to defeat this 
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  In response to a couple of things that my good friend said, Mr. 
Speaker, nowadays lots of people are claiming that marriage is a 
discriminatory institution. Same-sex couples say marriage discriminates 
against them. Believe it or not, single people are now complaining that 
marriage discriminates also against them. After all, say the singles, 
why should the State give special benefits to married parents but not 
to us?
  It gets worse. Even polygamists and believers in group marriage, who 
call themselves polyamorists, are saying that marriage discriminates 
against them.
  Now, if the support society gives the men and women who have the 
potential to create children is going to be called discrimination, 
pretty soon there is not going to be such a thing as a marriage at all. 
When one group can call marriage discrimination, then any group can 
make the same claim.
  And, also, Mr. Speaker, there was a comment about a couple loving 

[[Page H5289]]

other. But this is not a civil rights issue. Love, of course, is a 
great thing. But in my humble opinion, marriage is not just any kind of 
love. It is a love that can bear children, and it is a love that 
involves both a mom and a dad. Two men might be a good father. But 
neither one is a mom. The ideal for children is the love of both a mom 
and a dad. No same-sex couple can provide that. The ideal for marriage 
is about bringing together moms and dads so children have a mother and 
a father to learn from.
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman 
from North Carolina, Representative Virginia Foxx.
  Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Georgia for 
yielding me time.
  I also want to thank my colleagues for seeing the great need for this 
debate, a need which is no longer on the horizon but has reached the 
forefront as it has begun to affect American families.
  It is the right time to discuss a marriage protection amendment. As 
Members of this Congress, we have a responsibility to look at this 
critical situation for marriage and the real possibility that the 
courts are going to redefine marriage.
  This constitutional amendment would concretely define marriage as we 
always have: as the union between one man and one woman. The 
disintegration of the family is the force behind so many of our most 
serious social problems. We cannot turn a blind eye to the social 
trends that are doing the most damage to America's children. The health 
of American families is built upon marriage, and it affects us all.
  The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and other local courts have 
ruled in favor of same-sex marriages. These unsound decisions set a 
dangerous precedent, and that is why a constitutional amendment is 
necessary. If enacted, it will effectively ban these illegitimate 
marriages nationwide.
  This definition of marriage is not intended to be discriminatory but 
rather to uphold the sanctity of marriage as an institution. The 
Marriage Protection Amendment removes the definition of marriage from 
the hands of the courts and returns this decision to the American 
people, where it belongs. The Massachusetts decision represents the 
beginning of what could be a dangerous erosion of this sacred tradition 
that we must protect.
  Will we put our faith in a few unelected activist judges seated on a 
bench to define marriage, or will we use the most democratic process we 
have to affirmatively define marriage as it is intended? We must 
protect the sanctity of marriage now.
  I encourage my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the rule and support the 
Marriage Protection Amendment.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Ohio (Mr. Kucinich).
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to my beloved 
colleagues, what if a man and a woman have a partnership which does not 
produce children? Is their marriage invalid? Is it less sacred? And the 
use of the word ``illegitimate'' here is a little troubling because I 
thought we dispensed with those kinds of references as we became more 
  It is easy to take a stand for the institution of marriage in the 
abstract, but try doing it in your own life and that becomes a little 
more complex. It is far easier to tell others how they should live and 
whom they should be permitted to marry. The science of human relations 
requires humility. Whether in the heights of unity or the depths of 
divorce, our relationships, our companionships, our partnerships, are 
our greatest teachers. Our relationships are also a sphere of influence 
which should be free from government interest or interference.
  Government does not belong in the bedroom or secretly listening on 
your phone, reading your books, reviewing your e-mails. Government does 
not have a rightful role in determining who you should love, who should 
love whom, and therefore enter into the formalization of a civil 
marriage contract.
  We do not often quote from the Declaration of Independence here, but 
I think it would be useful if I recited some words that are instructive 
at this moment:
  ``We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men,'' and we 
know now all people, ``are created equal, that they are endowed by 
their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are 
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.''
  Thomas Jefferson went on to write that governments are created to 
secure these rights. I might add that this government was not created 
to crush those rights.
  Today, with a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage, we 
would establish a law which would be at odds with the 14th amendment, 
which guarantees equal protection of the law. What is next? Amend the 
Pledge of Allegiance to take out the words ``with liberty and justice 
for all''? What is next? Recarve the dais in front of us here, which 
has words carved into wood, and I will read them for those who are not 
able to see them: words carved below the Speaker: ``Tolerance,'' 
``Justice,'' ``Union,'' ``Liberty''? Do we just take that apart?

                              {time}  1045

  Move it? Leave it blank?
  You wonder why this Congress is not held in higher regard. I will 
tell you why. In Iraq, our troops are caught in a crossfire of a civil 
war which grows more deadly every day. The administration has no exit 
strategy. Congress does nothing.
  In Iran, the Department of Defense is actively preparing for war 
while the administration sets the stage for negotiations that they 
intend to fail. Congress does nothing.
  In the Middle East, the region stands on the brink of a full-blown 
war in which there will be no winners. Congress does nothing.
  In North Korea, the administration won't negotiate with North Korea, 
while North Korea is thumbing its nose at the international community. 
Congress does nothing.
  Here at home, you want to talk about a threat to the institution of 
marriage? 45 to 50 million people are without health insurance; 
bankruptcies at a record level; people in home foreclosures. Let's talk 
about a threat to the institution of marriage. Congress is doing 
nothing about any of that.
  Today, in a shameless attempt to divert, distract, and distort from 
the lackluster performance of this Congress, the House is set to write 
discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, 
North Korea, health care, gas prices, the minimum wage? No, the most 
pressing issue in America is gay marriage.
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 15 seconds.
  The gentleman from Ohio is concerned and says, what next? Is the 
Congress going to take out from the Pledge of Allegiance ``with liberty 
and justice for all''? I say to my friend from Ohio, no. Later on this 
week we will have the opportunity to defend ``one Nation under God'' 
and keep the Federal judiciary from taking that out.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/4\ minutes to the gentleman from North 
Carolina (Mr. Hayes).
  Mr. HAYES. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Georgia for 
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to defend traditional marriage. It is hard 
to believe that we have come to such a time in our country that we must 
even debate this basic American value.
  Marriage is defined as the union between one man and one woman. Some 
may question whether or not this issue warrants a Federal debate and 
Federal action. Unfortunately, certain courts in this land have 
answered that question as ideological judges threaten to undo the very 
fabric of our families by imposing their opinions and policies as the 
final say on what marriage means.
  Mr. Speaker, families matter, because fathers and mothers matter. 
They are not interchangeable. Literally hundreds of studies point to 
the crucial nature of mothers and fathers rearing children within the 
bonds of traditional marriage. Every deviation from the ideal model of 
enduring monogamous marriage between a man and a woman expands those 
boundaries; and when we push these limits, who is to say where the 
definition of marriage will end?
  Government and societies have granted certain institutional benefits 
and privileges to heterosexual marriage because these unions have the 
biological potential to provide societies with a tangible benefit, 

[[Page H5290]]

  Mr. Speaker, redefining marriage to include same-sex unions not only 
devalues marriage, but it diminishes the rights of children. Nature 
itself gave children this right.
  I wish that this fight here today was not necessary. We did not ask 
for it. But failure to enact a constitutional amendment will mean that 
the decisions made by the American people at the ballot box and through 
their elected representatives regarding marriage will continue to be 
overruled, bit by bit, by a few renegade judges and local officials. 
Unfortunately, when judges distort the Constitution to overrule the 
express will of the people, only constitutional amendments can overturn 
the judges.
  Mr. Speaker, the people in the Eighth District of North Carolina have 
clearly and repeatedly asked me to defend traditional marriage, to do 
whatever it takes to ensure that the people have the final say. That is 
why I rise here today, convinced that this constitutional amendment is 
the right thing to do.
  The time is now. Let's give American moms and dads the chance to 
protect marriage. I urge a ``yes'' vote on the rule and the Marriage 
Protection Amendment.

                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, I have a parliamentary inquiry.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state it.
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, the 14th amendment, section 1, says that 
no one shall be denied equal protection of the laws. Now, if this would 
pass, would this legislation, this constitutional amendment, supersede 
that provision of the 14th amendment and make that provision of the 
14th amendment null and void?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. It is not the province of the Chair to 
interpret the pending measure or to construe its relationship to the 
Constitution. Those are matters to be elucidated by Members in debate.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to insert into the Record at this time an 
article that appeared in the Economist magazine entitled ``The Case For 
Gay Marriage.''
  I will insert into the Record an executive summary of the Cato 
Institute's policy analysis entitled: ``The Federal Marriage Amendment: 
Unnecessary, Anti-federalist and Antidemocratic.''
  I would also like to insert into the Record a letter from the Human 
Rights Campaign in opposition to the bill before us, a letter from the 
American Jewish Committee in opposition to the bill before us, a letter 
from the National Council of Jewish Women in opposition to the bill 
before us, and a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights 
in opposition to the bill before us.

           [From the Economist print edition, Feb. 26, 2004]

                       The Case for Gay Marriage

             It rests on equality, liberty and even society

       So at last it is official: George Bush is in favour of 
     unequal rights, big-government intrusiveness and federal 
     power rather than devolution to the states. That is the 
     implication of his announcement this week that he will 
     support efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in America 
     banning gay marriage. Some have sought to explain this action 
     away simply as cynical politics, an effort to motivate his 
     core conservative supporters to turn out to vote for him in 
     November or to put his likely ``Massachusetts liberal'' 
     opponent, John Kerry, in an awkward spot. Yet to call for a 
     constitutional amendment is such a difficult, drastic and 
     draconian move that cynicism is too weak an explanation. No, 
     it must be worse than that: Mr. Bush must actually believe in 
     what he is doing.
       Mr. Bush says that he is acting to protect ``the most 
     fundamental institution of civilisation'' from what he sees 
     as ``activist judges'' who in Massachusetts early this month 
     confirmed an earlier ruling that banning gay marriage is 
     contrary to their state constitution. The city of San 
     Francisco, gay capital of America, has been issuing thousands 
     of marriage licences to homosexual couples, in apparent 
     contradiction to state and even federal laws. It can only be 
     a matter of time before this issue arrives at the federal 
     Supreme Court. An those ``activist judges'', who, by the way, 
     gave Mr. Bush his job in 2000, might well take the same view 
     of the federal constitution as their Massachusetts 
     equivalents did of their state code: that the constitution 
     demands equality of treatment. Last June, in Lawrence v. 
     Texas, they ruled that state anti-sodomy laws violated the 
     constitutional right of adults to choose how to conduct their 
     private lives with regard to sex, saying further that ``the 
     Court's obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to 
     mandate its own moral code''. That obligation could well lead 
     the justices to uphold the right of gays to marry.

                              Let them wed

       That idea remains shocking to many people. So far, only two 
     countries--Belgium and the Netherlands--have given full legal 
     status to same-sex unions, though Canada has backed the idea 
     in principle and others have conferred almost-equal rights on 
     such partnerships. The sight of homosexual men and women 
     having wedding days just like those enjoyed for thousands of 
     years by heterosexuals is unsettling, just as, for some 
     people, is the sight of them holding hands or kissing. When 
     The Economist first argued in favour of legalising gay 
     marriage eight years ago (``Let them wed'', January 6th 1996) 
     it shocked many of our readers, though fewer than it would 
     have shocked eight years earlier and more than it will shock 
     today. That is why we argued that such a radical change 
     should not be pushed along precipitously. But nor should it 
     be blocked precipitously.
       The case for allowing gays to marry begins with equality, 
     pure and simple. Why should one set of loving, consenting 
     adults be denied a right that other such adults have and 
     which, if exercised, will do no damage to anyone else? Not 
     just because they have always lacked that right in the past, 
     for sure: until the late 1960s, in some American states it 
     was illegal for black adults to marry white ones, but 
     precious few would defend that ban now on grounds that it was 
     ``traditional''. Another argument is rooted in semantics: 
     marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and so cannot be 
     extended to same-sex couples. They may live together and love 
     one another, but cannot, on this argument, be ``married''. 
     But that is to dodge the real question--why not?--and to 
     obscure the real nature of marriage, which is a binding 
     commitment, at once legal, social and personal, between two 
     people to take on special obligations to one another. If 
     homosexuals want to make such marital commitments to one 
     another, and to society, then why should they be prevented 
     from doing so while other adults, equivalent in all other 
     ways, are allowed to do so?

                      Civil unions are not enough

       The reason, according to Mr. Bush, is that this would 
     damage an important social institution. Yet the reverse is 
     surely true. Gays want to marry precisely because they see 
     marriage as important: they want the symbolism that marriage 
     brings, the extra sense of obligation and commitment, as well 
     as the social recognition. Allowing gays to marry would, if 
     anything, add to social stability, for it would increase the 
     number of couples that take on real, rather than simply 
     passing, commitments. The weakening of marriage has been 
     heterosexuals' doing, not gays', for it is their infidelity, 
     divorce rates and single-parent families that have wrought 
     social damage.
       But marriage is about children, say some: to which the 
     answer is, it often is, but not always, and permitting gay 
     marriage would not alter that. Or it is a religious act, say 
     others: to which the answer is, yes, you may believe that, 
     but if so it is no business of the state to impose a 
     religious choice. Indeed, in America the constitution 
     expressly bans the involvement of the state in religious 
     matters, so it would be especially outrageous if the 
     constitution were now to be used for religious ends.
       The importance of marriage for society's general health and 
     stability also explains why the commonly mooted alternative 
     to gay marriage--a so-called civil union--is not enough. 
     Vermont has created this notion, of a legally registered 
     contract between a couple that cannot, however, be called a 
     ``marriage''. Some European countries, by legislating for 
     equal legal rights for gay partnerships, have moved in the 
     same direction (Britain is contemplating just such a move, 
     and even the opposition Conservative leader, Michael Howard, 
     says he would support it). Some gays think it would be better 
     to limit their ambitions to that, rather than seeking full 
     social equality, for fear of provoking a backlash--of the 
     sort perhaps epitomised by Mr. Bush this week.
       Yet that would be both wrong in principle and damaging for 
     society. Marriage, as it is commonly viewed in society, is 
     more than just a legal contract. Moreover, to establish 
     something short of real marriage for some adults would tend 
     to undermine the notion for all. Why shouldn't everyone, in 
     time, downgrade to civil unions? Now that really would 
     threaten a fundamental institution of civilisation.

                  [From Policy Analysis, June 1, 2006]

 The Federal Marriage Amendment Unnecessary, Anti-Federalist, and Anti-

                          (By Dale Carpenter)

                           Executive Summary

       Members of Congress have proposed a constitutional 
     amendment preventing states from recognizing same-sex 
     marriages. Proponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment claim 
     that an amendment is needed immediately to prevent same-sex 
     marriages from being forced on the nation. That fear is even 
     more unfounded today than it was in 2004, when Congress last 
     considered the FMA. The better view is that the policy debate 

[[Page H5291]]

     same-sex marriage should proceed in the 50 states, without 
     being cut off by a single national policy imposed from 
     Washington and enshrined in the Constitution.
       A person who opposes same-sex marriage on policy grounds 
     can and should also oppose a constitutional amendment 
     foreclosing it, on grounds of federalism, confidence that 
     opponents will prevail without an amendment, or a belief that 
     public policy issues should only rarely be determined at the 
     constitutional level.
       There are four main arguments against the FMA. First, a 
     constitutional amendment is unnecessary because federal and 
     state laws, combined with the present state of the relevant 
     constitutional doctrines, already make court-ordered 
     nationwide same-sex marriage unlikely for the foreseeable 
     future. An amendment banning same-sex marriage is a solution 
     in search of a problem.
       Second, a constitutional amendment defining marriage would 
     be a radical intrusion on the nation's founding commitment to 
     federalism in an area traditionally reserved for state 
     regulation, family law. There has been no showing that 
     federalism has been unworkable in the area of family law.
       Third, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage 
     would be an unprecedented form of amendment, cutting short an 
     ongoing national debate over what privileges and benefits, if 
     any, ought to be conferred on same-sex couples and preventing 
     democratic processes from recognizing more individual rights.
       Fourth, the amendment as proposed is constitutional 
     overkill that reaches well beyond the stated concerns of its 
     proponents, foreclosing not just courts but also state 
     legislatures from recognizing same-sex marriages and perhaps 
     other forms of legal support for same-sex relationships. 
     Whatever one thinks of same-sex marriage as a matter of 
     policy, no person who cares about our Constitution and public 
     policy should support this unnecessary, radical, 
     unprecedented, and overly broad departure from the nation's 
     traditions and history.

                                        Human Rights Campaign,

                                    Washington, DC, July 17, 2006.
       Dear Representative: On behalf of the Human Rights Campaign 
     (``HRC''), our nation's largest civil rights organization 
     promoting equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender 
     (``GLBT'') Americans, I write to urge you to vote no on H.J. 
     Res. 88, a proposed amendment to the United States 
     Constitution that would write discrimination into our 
     Constitution and brand lesbian and gay families as second-
     class citizens in every state in our nation.
       Our Constitution was written to promote liberty, equality, 
     and fairness. ``We, the people'' means all of the people. By 
     singling out a group of Americans for unequal treatment, the 
     federal marriage amendment (``FMA'') would undermine the 
     guiding principles of our Constitution. Constitutional 
     amendments have expanded rights for Americans, including 
     voting rights, religious liberty, and equal protection. 
     Discrimination has no place in our nation's founding 
       The proposed amendment's supporters and drafters disagree 
     over whether it would ban the civil union and domestic 
     partnership protections that several states and cities have 
     extended to same-sex couples. Sixty percent of Americans 
     agree that all families should be able to protect one other 
     in times of crisis, whether to take care of a sick family 
     member, share retirement savings, of make important decisions 
     on the death of a partner. The FMA could render laws that 
     provide these protections unconstitutional, hurting real 
     American families.
       Americans prioritize fairness over discrimination. Congress 
     should focus on fairness, and abandon the divisive politics 
     behind the FMA. With gas prices rising and issues related to 
     health care and education on the minds of Americans, Congress 
     should not be spending its time seeking to discriminate 
     against a group of Americans and treating them differently 
     under the law in our Constitution.
       Your ``no'' vote on the FMA is a vote against 
     discrimination and for the values that belong in our 
     Constitution: liberty, equality, and fairness.
       Thank you for your consideration. If you have any 
     questions, or need more information, please contact David 
     Stacy at 202.572.8959 or Lara Schwartz at 202.216.1578.
                                                    Joe Solmonese,

                                The American Jewish Committee,

                                    Washington, DC, July 17, 2006.
     Re: Marriage Protection Amendment (H.J. Res. 88)
       Dear Representative: On behalf of the American Jewish 
     Committee, the nation's oldest human relations organization 
     with over 150,000 members and supporters represented by 33 
     regional offices nationwide, I urge you to oppose the 
     Marriage Protection Amendment (H.J. Res. 88). If passed, this 
     legislation would amend the U.S. Constitution to provide that 
     marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union 
     between a man and a woman. The amendment would also prevent 
     both the federal and state constitutions from being 
     interpreted to require that marriage or the legal incidents 
     thereof shall be conferred upon any union other than the 
     union of a man and a woman.
       The Marriage Protection Amendment would mark the first time 
     the Constitution has been amended to include discrimination. 
     It is a threat to the fundamental rights of many Americans 
     and would only serve to enshrine discrimination in our social 
       Moreover, the Marriage Protection Amendment would imperil 
     civil union and similar provisions that have been adopted in 
     some states. While AJC takes no position on state recognition 
     of same-sex marriage per se, AJC believes that same-sex 
     couples who choose to enter into domestic arrangements such 
     as civil unions should be afforded the same legal rights, 
     benefits, protections and obligations conferred upon 
     heterosexual couples who enter into civil marriage.
       We therefore urge you to oppose H.J. Res. 88 in order to 
     protect against enshrining discrimination in the 
       Thank you for considering our views on this important 
                                                Richard T. Foltin,
     Legislative Director and Counsel.

                             National Council of Jewish Women,

                                                    July 17, 2006.
       Dear Representative: On behalf of the 90,000 members and 
     supporters of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), I 
     am writing in opposition to the federal marriage amendment 
     (H.J. Res 39). The federal marriage amendment also threatens 
     fundamental constitutional rights such as religious liberty 
     and domestic violence protections.
       A ban on same-sex marriage would set a dangerous precedent 
     by amending the Constitution to restrict the rights of a 
     specific class of people. Furthermore, the proposed language 
     is vague and would consequently jeopardize existing state 
     recognized civil unions. To deny couples in committed 
     relationships the same legal benefits accorded spouses in 
     heterosexual marriages is prejudicial, morally offensive, and 
     goes against the spirit of a free democracy.
       Passage of the vague language within H.J. Res. 39 would 
     also have broader consequences for all unmarried Americans. 
     For instance, in Ohio, the media reports that some people are 
     losing the protection of domestic violence laws based on that 
     state's marriage amendment. The federal marriage amendment, 
     which has almost identical language, would create similar 
     ambiguities that would endanger protections for non-married 
     victims, potentially reduce criminal penalties, and 
     invalidate many state and local statues. This law would 
     inadvertently help those who hurt others by complicating 
     established laws in place to protect victims of violence.
       In addition, the passage of H.J. Res. 39 would jeopardize 
     religious liberty. To date, no administrative or judicial 
     decision in any state or locale requires a religious group to 
     perform any marriage against its will. The proposed 
     amendment, on the other hand, would impose a single, 
     religious definition of marriage upon the entire nation. 
     Central to religious autonomy is the ability to choose who 
     can take part in important religious rituals or services, 
     including marriage. For the government to interfere in this 
     process and show preference to one particular religion's 
     point of view would significantly undermine the separation of 
     religion and state.
       NCJW is a volunteer organization, inspired by Jewish 
     values, that works to improve the quality of life for women, 
     children, and families and to ensure individual rights and 
     freedoms for all. As such, we believe that gay and lesbian 
     individuals should have the constitutional right to affirm 
     and protect their relationships through marriage. We endorse 
     laws that would provide equal rights for same-sex couples.
       Enshrining discrimination in a document whose purpose is to 
     safeguard rights and freedoms is wrong. I urge you to vote to 
     defeat this bill.
                                                   Phyllis Snyder,
     NCJW President.

                                          Leadership Conference on

                                                 Civil Rights,

                                Washington, DC, July 14, 2006.

     Oppose the ``Federal Marriage Amendment'' (H.J. Res. 88) 
       Don't Write Discrimination into the Constitution
       Dear Representative: On behalf of the Leadership Conference 
     on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation's oldest, largest, and 
     most diverse civil and human rights coalition, we strongly 
     urge you to oppose the ``Federal Marriage Amendment'' (H.J. 
     Res. 88), a radical proposal that would permanently write 
     discrimination into the United States Constitution. LCCR 
     believes that this highly divisive amendment is a dangerous 
     and unnecessary approach to resolving the ongoing debate over 
     same-sex marriage, and that it would turn 225 years of 
     constitutional history on its head by requiring that states 
     actually restrict the civil rights of their own citizens.
       As a diverse coalition, LCCR does not take a position for 
     or against same-sex marriage. The issue of same-sex marriage 
     is an extremely difficult and sensitive one, and people of 
     good will can and do have heartfelt differences of opinion on 
     the matter. However, LCCR strongly believes that there are 
     right and wrong ways to address the issue as a matter of 
     public policy, and is extremely concerned about any proposal 
     that would alter our nation's most important document for the 
     direct purpose of excluding any individuals from its 
     guarantees of equal protection.
       The proposed amendment is antithetical to one of the 
     Constitution's most fundamental guiding principles, that of 
     the guarantee of equal protection for all. For the first time 

[[Page H5292]]

     history, the Constitution would be altered to be used as a 
     tool of exclusion, restricting the rights of a group of 
     Americans. It is so far-reaching that it would not only 
     prohibit states from granting equal marriage rights to same-
     sex couples, but also may deprive same-sex couples and their 
     families of fundamental protections such as hospital 
     visitation, inheritance rights, and health care benefits, 
     whether conveyed through marriage or other legally recognized 
     relationships. Such a proposal runs afoul of basic principles 
     of fairness and will do little but harm real children and 
     real families in the process.
       Constitutional amendments are extremely rare, and are only 
     done to address great public policy needs. Since the Bill of 
     Rights' adoption in 1791, the Constitution has only been 
     amended seventeen times. LCCR believes that the Bill of 
     Rights and subsequent amendments were designed largely to 
     protect and expand individual liberties, and certainly not to 
     deliberately take away or restrict them.
       LCCR is particularly troubled by the virulent rhetoric of 
     some organizations working to enact the proposed amendment, 
     and their animus towards gays and lesbians. The attacks made 
     by many of the most vocal proponents, such as the Traditional 
     Values Coalition and the American Family Association, are 
     disturbingly similar to the sorts of attacks that have 
     been made upon other communities as the have attempted to 
     assert their right to equal protection of the laws. This 
     is, of course, an element of the debate that the civil 
     rights community finds deeply disturbing, as should all 
     fair-minded Americans.
       In addition, supporters of the Federal Marriage Amendment 
     cite ``judicial activism'' as a reason to enact it. Terms 
     like ``judicial activism'' are alarming to LCCR and the civil 
     rights community because such labels have routinely been used 
     in the past to attack judges who made courageous decisions on 
     civil rights matters. When Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote 
     the unanimous Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of 
     Education (1954), for example, defenders of segregation cried 
     ``judicial activism'' across the South and across the 
     country. Many groups and individuals demanded that Congress 
     ``impeach Earl Warren.'' The Supreme Court's ruling in Loving 
     v. Virginia (1967), which invalidated a state anti-
     miscegenation law, resulted in similar attacks. Fortunately, 
     our nation avoided taking any radical measures against the 
     so-called ``judicial activists'' or their decisions, and we 
     believe a similar level of caution is warranted in this case.
       At a time when our nation has many great and pressing 
     issues, Congress can ill afford to exert time and energy on 
     such a divisive and discriminatory constitutional amendment. 
     We implore you to focus on the critical needs facing our 
     nation, and to publicly oppose this amendment. If you have 
     any questions or need further information, please contact Rob 
     Randhava, LCCR Counsel, at (202) 466-6058, or Nancy Zirkin, 
     LCCR Deputy Director, at (202) 263-2880. Thank you for your 
       Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
       A. Philip Randolph Institute, American Association of 
     People with Disabilities, American Civil Liberties Union, 
     American Humanist Association, American Jewish Committee, 
     Americans for Democratic Action, Americans United for 
     Separation of Church and State, Anti-Defamation League, Asian 
     American Justice Center (formerly known as NAPALC), Asian 
     Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, Association of 
     Humanistic Rabbis, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, 
     Central Conference of American Rabbis, Citizens' Commission 
     on Civil Rights, Disability Rights Education & Defense 
     Fund, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Global 
     Rights, Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of 
     America, Human Rights Campaign, Jewish Labor Committee.
       Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC), Korean 
     Resource Center (KRC), Lambda Legal, League of United Latin 
     American Citizens, League of Women Voters of the United 
     States, Legal Momentum, Metropolitan Washington Employment 
     Lawyers Association, Mexican American Legal Defense and 
     Educational Fund, National Alliance of Postal and Federal 
     Employees, National Association for the Advancement of 
     Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Human Rights 
     Workers, National Association of Social Workers, National 
     Council of Jewish Women, National Council of La Raza, 
     National Disability Rights Network, National Education 
     Association, National Employment Lawyers Association, 
     National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Jewish 
     Democratic Council, National Korean American Service & 
     Education Consortium (NAKASEC).
       National Partnership for Women & Families, National Urban 
     League, National Women's Law Center, People For the American 
     Way, PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of 
     Lesbians and Gays), Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 
     Project Equality, Inc., Retail, Wholesale and Department 
     Store Union, UFCW, Service Employees International Union 
     (SEIU), Society for Humanistic Judaism, The Interfaith 
     Alliance, Union for Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist 
     Association of Congregations, United Church of Christ Justice 
     and Witness Ministries, United Food and Commercial Workers 
     International Union, United States Student Association, Women 
     Employed, Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, YWCA USA.

  Mr. Speaker, let me also just say in response to some of the speakers 
who have come before us who have talked about gay marriage as somehow 
going against the will of the people, I will tell you that in 
Massachusetts, where gay marriage has been legal now for over 2 years, 
I think the majority of the people are absolutely fine with it. Over 
8,000 gay couples have been married, and life goes on. Nothing has 
changed. The only thing that has changed is that people in gay 
relationships can enjoy the same rights and privileges and 
responsibilities as those who are in heterosexual relationships.
  I would also say to my colleagues that if you are so worried about 
defending the institution of marriage, then I think we should all worry 
about our own marriages. In Massachusetts, I should point out for the 
record that we have the lowest divorce rate in the country. So maybe we 
know something about marriage that maybe you don't.
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 15 seconds.
  The gentleman from Massachusetts I am sure is aware of the fact that 
in his State, opponents have gathered 170,000 signatures supporting a 
constitutional amendment they hope would end gay marriage, despite what 
their supreme court did.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from North Carolina 
(Mr. McHenry).
  Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, we must defend traditional marriage. 
Marriage, family and community are not catch phrases. They are the 
backbone of our American society. Sadly, however, there is an organized 
effort by judicial activists and the radical left in this country to 
destroy our traditional American culture.
  The Federal Marriage Amendment provides a national definition of 
marriage and leaves marriage laws to the State legislatures. It adds a 
layer of protection against court-imposed arrangements other than 
marriage and protects States from being forced to recognize same-sex 
unions created by other States.
  Years of social science evidence confirms that children respond best 
when their mom and dad are married and live in the home. That is why it 
is important that we defend traditional marriage and this traditional 
notion of family law that emphasizes the importance of the foundational 
principle of family and to address the needs of children in the most 
positive and effective way.
  We must defend what is sacred in our Nation against reckless actions 
of a dangerous few who seek to impose their liberal lunacy on our 
society. That is why we must fight for families, and this is a war 
worth fighting.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, let me say that I used to think that what was sacred in 
this country was defending civil rights and civil liberties and 
fighting against discrimination. Apparently I am mistaken, based on the 
comments that I have just heard.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentlewoman from Wisconsin (Ms. 
  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman and rise this morning 
in strong opposition to the rule before us. I hope later today to 
return to the floor and address the substance of Federal Marriage 
Amendment. But now I want to speak to this process, because by bringing 
up this unnecessary and divisive amendment to write discrimination into 
the Constitution, the leadership of this House once again illustrates 
just how out of step Congress is with the rest of America.
  With the defeat of the amendment in the Senate a mere 5 weeks ago, 
this legislation should have never reached the floor of the House. Yet, 
unsurprisingly, politics is prevailing over common sense, and today we 
are going to be hearing a lot of hurtful political rhetoric targeting 
gay and lesbian families, all for the purpose of pandering to a narrow 
political base.
  Mr. Speaker, America faces great challenges, both at home and abroad. 
We are confronted with record high gas prices, an endless and expensive 
war in Iraq, skyrocketing health care costs, and a growing 
international crisis in the Middle East and North Korea. But the 
Federal Marriage Amendment allowed under this rule, of course, does 
nothing to address these very pressing challenges.

[[Page H5293]]

  At a time of such great tests confronting our Nation, America's 
leaders should be uniting, rather than dividing, our country. But the 
FMA does exactly the opposite of that, and it certainly puts politics 
ahead of real progress.
  The Federal Marriage Amendment is also unnecessary. Since 2004, 
States around the country have been addressing the issue of gay 
marriage through the normal legislative and governmental process. 
Today, Massachusetts remains the only State that allows gay marriage. 
But several other States, including Vermont, Connecticut and 
California, have passed laws granting civil union protections for same-
sex couples. Those laws would certainly be threatened if this amendment 
were to pass.
  The proposed FMA limits the ability of States to confer protections 
such as important rights like hospital visitation rights, health 
insurance and broader civil union or domestic partnership protections 
on unmarried couples, and it undermines our federalist tradition of 
deferring to the States to regulate the institution of marriage.
  Mr. Speaker, many Americans are struggling with the issue of same-sex 
marriage on a personal level today. There is a vibrant debate going on 
across our Nation, in church basements, in break rooms, in dining 
rooms. This debate would be completely shutdown and stifled if this 
amendment were to pass.
  Our Constitution, the most cherished document embodying the American 
Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, should not be 
amended to single out and deny the rights of any one group of 
Americans. This divisive, hateful, and unnecessary amendment is 
unworthy of our great Constitution that has been the foundation of our 
great Nation.
  I urge my colleagues to reject this rule and to vote against the 
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to point out to the gentlewoman from Wisconsin 
that 45 States currently define marriage as a union of one man and one 
woman or expressly prohibit same-sex marriages; and those 45 States we 
are talking about, Mr. Speaker, include 88 percent of the population of 
this country. We are not just talking about Georgia. The fact is in a 
constitutional amendment, three-fourths of the States will have to 
ratify it.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. GINGREY. I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts.
  Mr. McGOVERN. If all these States are doing what you want them to do, 
why do we need a Federal constitutional amendment?
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, it is because of these 
activist judges who are chipping away at the will of the people.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to my good friend, the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Neugebauer).
  Mr. NEUGEBAUER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the 
definition of a marriage as between one man and one woman. I think 
really what we are doing on the floor today is determining how America 
will define itself. Thousands of years and many civilizations have 
defined a marriage as the union between one man and one woman. With few 
exceptions, those civilizations that did not follow that perished.
  Forty-five States, as the gentleman just said, have determined by 
people that were elected by the people of that State that marriage is 
the definition of one man and one woman. So, today, we are really on 
the floor to debate whether America will continue to define itself and 
the definition of marriage on a godly institution that was established 
thousands and thousands of years ago that one man and one woman would 
come together and become one and produce families, families that all 
across America have said that the definition of marriage is between one 
man and one woman.
  I urge my colleagues today to define America as a moral country.

                              {time}  1100

  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Moran).
  Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend from 
Massachusetts for yielding me time.
  Mr. Speaker, you know we have a conflagration in the Middle East 
today as we speak. We have raised the debt ceiling four times to over 
$9 trillion, and we are going to pass it all on to our kids. And yet 
this is how the Republican congressional leadership chooses to spend 
its time.
  Nobody's marriage is endangered. What this is really about and what 
this amendment should be entitled is the ``Gay Discrimination Act.'' 
That is all it is. And what is its motivation? It is a crass political 
attempt to divide America in an election year. That is what this is all 
about. We know it. And I suspect a lot of the American people know it 
as well.
  What every American should find most objectionable is that you are 
using the Constitution to do this. Our Founding Fathers put together 
the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in order to protect and enhance 
individual rights and liberties. And this goes directly counter to what 
our Constitution is all about by prohibiting individual rights and 
limiting States rights.
  They talked about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And, 
yet, all you can think about is ways to make life more difficult for 
people who do not fall into the mainstream of America. That is not what 
America is about. This amendment needs to be defeated and we need to 
stand up for human rights, for civil rights, and for States rights.
  We know it is never going to get enacted. But we should not be 
spending our time talking about it. We should not be spending our time 
trying to seek political gain at the expense of people who want to live 
committed lives with each other. That is not endangering anybody. 
Defeating this amendment is what our Founding Fathers wanted America to 
be about.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the Federal Marriage 
Amendment, and I do so for one simple reason--the United States 
Constitution must never be allowed to expressly authorize, indeed to 
expressly direct, discrimination against a group of individuals that is 
based upon their shared personal characteristics
  Mr. Speaker, this amendment shouldn't be called the Marriage 
Protection Amendment. It isn't needed to strengthen or enhance the 
institution or traditional marriage in this country.
  Call it what it is--it's the Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment, for it is 
intended to deny gay and lesbian Americans, solely on the basis of 
their orientation, the ability to maintain the same kind of committed 
relationships that every other adult in the country is entitled to.
  This is discrimination in its rankest form.
  The amendment is the first of its kind, for it seeks to change the 
Constitution, not to prohibit, but to authorize a specific form of 
  And it does this by forever preventing the states from extending the 
rights and protections of marriage to a certain class of citizens.
  States would be denied the right to recognize and afford same sex 
couples the legal rights and protection that heterosexual couples 
receive from government, such as the right to receive health benefits 
and hospital visitations.
  Furthermore, those states that have already seen fit to recognize and 
enact domestic partnership state laws would be preempted by this 
  Never, however, has the Constitution, on its face, been amended to 
deny a specific set of rights to a specific class of citizens.
  By approving this measure, the House would be party to act that would 
stand as an extraordinary affront to the Constitution and, especially, 
to the Bill of Rights and the fundamental principles and protections it 
  This is not what the Constitution is about; this is not what our 
country is about. The amendment should be seen for what it is--a crass 
attempt to politically divide the American public in an election year. 
It must be soundly defeated, and I urge my colleagues to do so.
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 15 seconds.
  Mr. Speaker, I just want to remind the gentleman from Virginia that 
it is not all about money and how we spend it that we are in this 
Congress, but it is also about values and how this great country 
represents them to the world, not the least of which is the Middle 
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
  (Mr. STEARNS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague also for his point 
that values are important here in Congress. That is why we are here. So 
I rise in support of the rule and support of the amendment.

[[Page H5294]]

  In 1996, we passed in Congress the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, so 
this is not a new issue, back in 1996 to protect the institution of 
  Unfortunately, DOMA does not go far enough to protect States from 
courts that choose to drastically alter marriage laws. This amendment 
is greatly supported, greatly supported by the majority of Americans. 
As pointed out earlier, 20 States, 20 States voted and elected to 
define marriage as between a man and a woman by overwhelming 
  On average, these States have approved constitutional amendments with 
70 percent approval ratings. Additionally, 23 other States have enacted 
laws that similarly limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman, 
and my State is among them, Florida. Yet, not one State, I say to my 
colleagues over there, not one State has chosen by popular vote to 
permit marriages between homosexuals. Explain that to me. Why, if there 
is so much concern over there, why a State has not permitted it?
  Without this amendment, activist judges would be able to force 
recognition of same-sex marriage upon States that have democratically 
voted not to sanction these unions. This is a miscarriage of judicial 
power. I urge my colleagues to support the democratic process and 
support the Federal marriage amendment.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, just for the record, there is no Federal 
challenge at this time in any Federal court to DOMA. So that not is not 
even an issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. 
  Mr. CLEAVER. Mr. Speaker, I probably perform more marriages than all 
of the other Members in this body, collected. When I perform a wedding 
in Los Angeles in August, it will push me over the 400 mark for my 
career as an ordained United Methodist pastor.
  I am baffled over what is taking place on this floor. When Rome ruled 
the world, every now and then Roman soldiers had to go back to Rome and 
pledge loyalty to the Emperor. It was called sacramentum. In my 
tradition, the Christian tradition, we took that word to use as our 
word sacrament, our pledge of loyalty to God.
  The generic marriage ceremony, which almost every denomination uses, 
begins by saying, marriage is an honorable estate instituted by God and 
signifies to all the uniting of this man and this woman in His church.
  The point, Mr. Speaker, is that the domain of the church is the place 
where definitions should be made with regard to marriage. Every 
denomination has struggled or is struggling with this issue. The United 
Methodist Church voted last year not to allow same-sex marriages. The 
Episcopalian Church voted to do the same.
  I resent a body of legislators telling me, a member of a 
denomination, that they will decide who can and who cannot get married. 
It is the responsibility of the church not the Government. If the 
Government is going to become involved in this sacrament, then why not 
communion? Why does the Congress not then begin to deal with how many 
times a month a church should do communion?
  Friends, this is the saddest day for me since I have been here, 
because I can see clearly that this body is willing to trespass on the 
domain of God. Marriage is a holy institution. It was created by God. 
And we say in my tradition that Jesus ordained and beautified marriage 
when he performed his first miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, 
not on the floor of Congress.
  The church controls this issue. If this body would like to move to 
have the civil marriages restricted, that is fine. People who want to 
go to the courthouse, or want to get married on a ship, that is fine. 
But in terms of the church, keep your hands out of the church.
  The church is a sacred institution. I did not come to this floor to 
make enemies but to make a point. And my point is this. This is off 
base. This is wrong. I wish we had time to debate the theology of this 
issue, because I would do it with anybody in this place.
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 45 seconds.
  Mr. Speaker, I do not know that I could debate theology with the 
gentleman from Missouri, as an ordained minister, but I do know a 
little bit about the sacrament of marriage, Mr. Speaker, as one of 
about 200 Catholic Members of the United States Congress.
  I think God has spoken very clearly, very clearly on this issue. And 
I would refer the gentleman to Holy Scripture, and what the word says 
in regard to marriage and the sanctity of marriage. I think it is 
pretty clear.
  The gentleman wants to talk about the fact that this should be a 
church issue. I agree with you. I wish it were, if it were not for 
these activist Federal judges and these public officials. I will remind 
the gentleman from Missouri, the good Reverend, that they will be the 
one that would be performing these marriages and they would do it to a 
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from California (Mr. 
Daniel E. Lungren).
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, the argument on the 
floor that somehow this is a church issue misses this point entirely. 
We are talking about the legal implications, and whether or not the 
Government of the United States can recognize a preferential status for 
marriage between one man and one woman.
  Now, is this unprecedented? No, it is not. Read your American 
history. The State of Utah was not allowed to become a State until they 
recognized marriage as being only between one man and one woman. That 
had to do with whether you could have multiple partners.
  This is a different aspect of that question, but essentially the 
legal basis is the same. And that is what we are talking about here. 
Those who wish to change this, as these activist judges do, carry the 
burden of arguing why we should change an institution which has stood 
the test of time for thousands of years.
  There are reasons for this in terms of it being the most stable unit 
of society upon which our society has found itself in need. That is 
what we are talking about. It is not discrimination. It is allowing the 
existence of a definition of the most fundamental unit of society. That 
is it simply. We are not intruding in the province of churches.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Tennessee (Mr. Davis).
  Mr. DAVIS of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to clarify 
something about the activist judges. Since 1953, since Eisenhower was 
sworn into office, there have been 23 Federal judges appointed to the 
U.S. Supreme Court. Of that amount, 17 have been Republicans, 6 have 
been Democrats. The Court today has 7 Republicans, and 2 Democrats.
  I do not know who they are blaming. Mr. Speaker, I thank the 
gentleman for yielding. Mr. Speaker, I am a cosponsor of this 
amendment. And I rise today with some serious concerns. First, I am 
concerned about the use of faith and marriage to score political 
points. I am also concerned about the scope of the amendment.
  First, I will talk about the amendment's scope. In my opinion, the 
amendment limits its ability to truly protect marriage. As written, the 
amendment defines marriage between a man and a woman. Sounds good, but 
I do not think that alone will be good enough to fully protect 
  Mr. Speaker, it is my belief that the amendment does not go far 
enough. If we truly want to protect marriage, we should look and do all 
the things we must to go after the evils that threaten each and 
everyone of our marriages. These are the evils of divorce, adultery and 
  The amount of divorce that has occurred in this country has become a 
threat to marriage. What do our children learn when they see their 
parents getting divorced left and right, only to remarry and get 
divorced again? What kind of example does it set?
  This occurrence clearly undermine the values that are the foundation 
of every marriage. Of course I am speaking of the commonly recited 
tenet, ``Till death do us part.'' Marriage is for life. This amendment 
needs to include that basic tenet.
  Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I think we should expand the scope of the 
amendment to outlaw divorce in this country. Going further, Mr. 
Speaker, I believe infidelity, adultery, is an evil that threatens the 
marriage and the heart

[[Page H5295]]

of every marriage, which is commitment.
  How can we as a country allow adulterers to go unpunished and 
continue to make a mockery of marriage? Again, by doing so, what 
lessons are we teaching our children about marriage? I certainly think 
that it shows we are not serious about protecting the institution and 
this is why I think the amendment should outlaw adultery and make it a 
  Additionally, Mr. Speaker, we must address spousal abuse and child 
abuse. Think of how many marriages end in divorce or permanent 
separation because one spouse is abusive. And, Mr. Speaker, I 
personally think child abuse may be the most despicable act one can 
  This is why if we are truly serious about protecting marriage to the 
point where we will amend the Constitution, we should extend the 
punishment of abuse to prevent those who do such a heinous act from 
ever running for an elected position anywhere.
  We should also prevent those who commit adultery or get a divorce 
from running for office. Mr. Speaker, this House must lead by example. 
If we want those watching on C-SPAN to actually believe we are serious 
about protecting marriage, then we should go after the other major 
threats to the institution, not just the threats that homosexuals may 
some day be allowed to marry in a State other than Massachusetts, and 
elected officials should certainly lead by example.
  Now for my second concern, Mr. Speaker. As a person of faith who has 
been blessed with a wonderful marriage of 42 years, I am deeply 
troubled that some may be using this amendment to score political 
points with their base.
  Why else would we be voting for an amendment that has no chance of 
becoming law since the Senate has already rejected it? Why else would 
we vote on an amendment that may not be necessary, when you consider 
that 45 States have enacted either constitutional or statutory bans on 
gay marriage? And other States, like my home State of Tennessee, have 
put such bans on the ballot in November.
  Why, too, would Congressional Quarterly in their July 17, 2006 issue, 
report this amendment is a part of the legislative values agenda rolled 
out to rally the GOP base in the run-up to the November elections?
  Just as one should not take the Lord's name in vain, I also believe a 
good value for folks is to never undermine religion or marriage by 
using them to score political points with the base in order to win 
  In closing, Mr. Speaker, I think it is time for both parties to stop 
pandering to the bases that live on the political fringes and instead 
remember that there is one more true base: the American people. The 
people I represent would be more motivated if we could address the cost 
of $3 a gallon gasoline, and cut it in half, reduce the cost of health 
care for a family of four from $1,000 it currently costs for a family, 
increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour, address the 
illegal immigration, reduce budget deficits and balance our budget.

                              {time}  1115

  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 15 seconds.
  My good friend, the gentleman from Tennessee, decried politics, and 
then he started his remarks about politics. He talked about whether 
these judges were Republican judges and Democratic judges and gave 
  In response to him, we are blaming activist judges, whether they are 
Democratically appointed or Republican appointees, who are attempting 
by judicial fiat to redefine our constitutional definition of marriage 
which has stood for 223 years.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/4\ minutes to my good friend from Texas, who 
has been married to his lovely wife for 37 years, Judge John Carter.
  Mr. CARTER. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Georgia. 
We have now made 38.
  Mr. Speaker, anywhere in the world today you can wake somebody up in 
the middle of the night, you pick them, and you say, excuse me, wake up 
just a second. What is a marriage? They will say a union between a man 
and a woman.
  This is a confused world that we are trying to define here. The 
reality is marriage has always been a union between a man and a woman. 
Now, in China they might say a civil union. In Rome they might say a 
church union, but it has always been a union between a man and a woman.
  In my faith, I believe it is part of God's plan for the future of 
mankind. The sacredness of a marriage is based, to this Nation, and, 
quite frankly, every Nation on Earth, it is how the base governing we 
have in our lives starts.
  Mr. Speaker, that is why this should be a part of the United States 
Constitution. When activist judges would go try to change the real 
world, it is our job to step up and stand up for the moral values of 
this Nation.
  This is why I support this rule, and I support the legislation and 
the constitutional amendment to follow.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Woolsey).
  (Ms. WOOLSEY asked and was given permission to revise and extend her 
  Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, I honor the long-term marriages of my 
colleagues, all, in this Congress, but this so-called Marriage 
Protection Amendment isn't about trying to reduce the divorce rate, or 
it is not about helping married couples work through their problems. 
This bill is about keeping two adults from making a life-long 
commitment to each other. With everything that is happening in this 
world, it seems like this should be the least of our worries.
  Mr. Speaker, it is time for the majority party to quit intruding on 
our private lives and start working on the issues that really matter to 
the American people and to their families. The American public wants us 
to work together, to bring our soldiers home from Iraq, to address the 
rising cost of gas, to raise the minimum wage.
  Faced with such important issues, amending the Constitution to decide 
what we should do in our private lives is nothing more than a cheap 
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I proudly yield 2 minutes now to the 
gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Ryun), who has been married 37\1/2\ years.
  Mr. RYUN of Kansas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this 
rule and the underlying legislation, House Joint Resolution 88, the 
Marriage Protection Amendment.
  It is on behalf of the many families of the Second District of Kansas 
that I urge my colleagues to give our State legislators the opportunity 
to ratify the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one 
  Mr. Speaker, we have reached a point in history where some have 
forgotten that it is the family, not the government, that is the 
fundamental building block of our society. This constitutional 
amendment would be entirely unnecessary were it not for the activist 
judges who are recklessly imposing their creative definitions of 
marriage upon citizens within their jurisdiction.
  They have assailed the very anchor of family, the marriage between 
one man and one woman. It seems obvious to me and to 70 percent of 
Kansans who voted for a State constitutional amendment, that when we 
have strong families rooted in a marriage between one man and one 
woman, we give the next generation the best chance for the American 
Dream. When we have strong families, we have strong schools, stronger 
communities, and a stronger Nation.
  Some would say that my beliefs are simplistic and old-fashioned. But 
the facts are in, and the facts say there are real consequences when 
society does not protect marriage and the family. But don't take my 
word for it. Just ask former President Clinton's own domestic policy 
adviser, Bill Galston, who wrote, from the standpoint of economic well-
being and sound psychological development, the evidence indicates that 
the intact two-parent family is generally preferable to the available 
alternatives. It follows that a prime purpose of a sound family policy 
is to strengthen such families by promoting their formation and 
retarding their breakdown whenever possible.
  Dr. Galston's research indicates what many of us, what we already 
know through studies, that kids are better off in an intact family that 
begins with a marriage between one man and one woman. I urge my 
colleagues to join me in supporting the rule and the underlying 

[[Page H5296]]

  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Massachusetts (Mr. Frank).
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, as I listen, I am struck 
anew by the ability of preprogrammed rhetoric to resist the facts. We 
have heard talk about activist judges, Federal judges. No Federal judge 
has been involved here. There is not a pending decision that is now in 
force by a single Federal judge. That doesn't stop people from invoking 
it, because facts are irrelevant to this kind of rhetoric.
  In fact, this amendment is being described in ways that are not 
accurate. It is not an amendment to prevent judges, activist judges, 
pacifist judges, any kind of judges, from deciding. It is an amendment 
to prevent anybody from deciding.
  In the State of Massachusetts, we have had same-sex marriage for over 
2 years. None of the negative consequences that people have predicted 
came true.
  In consequence, I believe the political community of Massachusetts is 
prepared to say, if two men love each other and are prepared to be 
committed to each other legally as well as emotionally, that is rather 
a good thing and we will say it's okay.
  If the voters of Massachusetts, in a referendum in 2008, which we 
might have, were to ratify same-sex marriage, this amendment would 
cancel it out. It has nothing to do with activist judges. It has to do 
with a decision that says no State by any political process can make 
that decision. The legislature of California, not judges in California, 
voted to allow two women who love each other to be legally responsible 
for each other.
  That, if it were to be ratified by a Governor after the next 
election, would be cancelled out. So this is not an amendment about 
activist judges. This is an amendment that says no State by whatever 
process, including a referendum, can make this decision.
  Why? I also feel strengthened in my advocacy of a cause when people 
won't tell me their real arguments against it. I think this is 
motivated, frankly, by a dislike of those of us who are gay and lesbian 
on the part of those who are the main motivators.
  You know, we are told don't take things personally, but I take this 
personally. I take it personally when people decide to take political 
batting practice with my life, when people decide that they would 
demonize, not just me, I am old, I am over it, but young people who are 
just starting out, who find themselves, for reasons they can't explain, 
attracted to someone of the same sex, and they are demonized in this 
House of Representatives as if they are a threat to marriage.
  That is the biggest nonsensical statement of all. Yes, marriage 
between a man and woman who are in love is a good thing. How does 
allowing two men who love each other to become legally committed 
endanger these marriages of 37 or 38 years? Let me tell you the logical 
structure, or the illogical structure, of the argument on the other 
  People will remember the commercial for V8 juice years ago in which a 
cartoon character who was feeling poorly drank various juices to see if 
he or she could be energized. None of them worked. Tomato juice didn't 
work. Apple juice didn't work. Pineapple juice didn't work, and then 
someone gives him a V8. The cartoon character gets pumped up, 
literally, and steam comes out of his ears. He is literally now raring 
to go, because he had a V8.
  He says to himself, wow, I could have had a V8. Note for the record, 
I just smacked myself in the forehead to represent what happened in the 
commercial. Now, that is apparently the logical structure of same-sex 
marriages. Apparently there were these 37-, 38-, 42-year-long marriages 
all over the place.
  There are happily married men all over America, and they are content 
with their wives. They are heterosexual, and they feel this physical 
and emotional attraction to each other. Then they read in the paper 
that in the State of Massachusetts it is now possible for there to be a 
same-sex marriage.
  How is a marriage endangered? Apparently, people happily married in 
Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, and Mississippi read that we have had same-
sex marriage quite successfully in Massachusetts, and they look in the 
mirror and they say, wow, I could have married a guy.
  So, apparently, same-sex marriage is the V8 juice of America. And 
apparently there are people who fear that knowing that two men who love 
each other, want to be committed to each other, somehow will dissolve 
the bonds of matrimony between two heterosexuals, it is, of course, 
nonsense. I will do my friends the credit of acknowledging that they 
don't believe it. There is a political motive here. Now, there are 
people who are genuinely concerned that there would be negative social 
  I understand that. I have heard that every time we deal with 
discrimination, when we dealt with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 
with gender, with race, with ethnicity, with age. I understand their 
fears. We have had same-sex marriage in Massachusetts for over 2 years.
  Thousands of loving men and women have been able to come together and 
express their commitment to each other, and no one, not even the most 
dedicated opponent, has been able to point to a single negative 
  So I understand the people who are afraid. We have disproven the 
fears, and what is left is only dislike of many of us. It simply is not 
appropriate to score political points by demonizing or seeking to 
minimize the lives of your fellow citizens.
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I have no other speakers on my side. While 
I am going to reserve the balance of my time for closing, I want to 
respond and give myself as much time as I might consume to the 
gentleman from Massachusetts, for whom, and whose intellect, I have a 
deep respect. I think he knows that.
  Let me just say that Americans are a good and tolerant people. The 
people of this country believe in equality and freedom, and we respect 
the rights of individuals to conduct their personal lives as they see 
  Reasonable people can differ in their views on homosexuality or its 
causes, consequences, and moral significance. Personally, I think it is 
a good thing that American citizens who happen to be gay are accorded 
more tolerance and respect today than was the case 50 years ago.
  But I honestly believe that the issue facing us today is not the 
issue of homosexuality. Most fundamentally, the issue we face today is 
marriage, the meaning of marriage as an institution and how best to 
support it. I favor the Federal Marriage Amendment because I want to 
support the institutution of marriage and keep it strong.
  This issue is not, in my humble opinion, about homosexuality.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. GINGREY. I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. This is a question, and I appreciate the 
civil spirit in which he discusses it. Would the gentleman explain to 
me does how the fact that two women in Massachusetts who are allowed to 
be legally committed to each other in any way endanger or threaten 
marriages between heterosexuals elsewhere?
  Mr. GINGREY. Well, in response to the gentleman, again, as I said, it 
is not an issue of same-sex union.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. But how does it hurt?
  Mr. GINGREY. And benefits that are afforded them by many States. The 
States certainly have the right to prescribe that in regard to issues 
of consanguinity and the age of consent and benefits for same-sex 
  But they don't, in my opinion, have the right to redefine the 
definition of marriage.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. How does it hurt? How does the existence 
of a same-sex marriage in any way threaten a happy heterosexual 
  Mr. GINGREY. Reclaiming my time, I think that the gentlewoman from 
Colorado and those of us who support this constitutional amendment feel 
that this is all about marriage that results, or potentially can 
result, in the procreation of children. This is what our Constitution 
has implied for 223 years and, indeed, what the word of God has implied 
for 2,000 years.
  With that, I will continue to reserve the balance of my time for the 
purpose of closing.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire how much time I have left.

[[Page H5297]]

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Bonner). The gentleman from 
Massachusetts has 1\1/2\ minutes.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I want to agree with my colleague from 
Georgia (Mr. Gingrey) when he says that the American people are a good 
and tolerant people. He is absolutely right. Unfortunately, that 
doesn't extend in terms of the tolerance part of it to a lot of Members 
of this Chamber.
  I mean, we have listened to this debate for nearly an hour now, and 
we have heard the words from the other side, and they are words of 
exclusion, and even hate.

                              {time}  1130

  We have heard talk about family values. Well, hate is not a family 
value. Discrimination is not a family value. Exclusion and denying 
people's rights are not family values.
  In Massachusetts, my home State, same-sex marriage is legal. It is 
legal. Gay couples can go to the town hall, city hall, fill out the 
forms, pay the application fee and legally get married; 8,000 couples 
have done so, and everything has stayed the same in Massachusetts. Life 
goes on.
  But what you want to do here today with this amendment is not only 
prevent other States from acting as Massachusetts has done, but what 
you are saying to those 8,000 couples is that we want to affirmatively 
go and take away your rights; we want to null and void your legal 
  That is shameful. It is insulting. It is discrimination. If your 
State wants to ban gay marriage, that is your State's right to do so, 
but the people of Massachusetts have a different opinion, and if the 
people of Massachusetts want to respect and honor same-sex marriages, 
that is our business. It should not be the business of the House of 
Representatives or the United States Senate to go in there and to go 
against and to void the will of the people of Massachusetts.
  Mr. Speaker, this is all about politics here today. The Senate has 
already defeated this. This is appalling that we are here today. This 
is about gay-bashing. It is about winning political points. Quite 
frankly, this is disgraceful.
  Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the remaining time.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise again in support of this rule and in full support 
of and recognition of the importance of this underlying amendment to 
our Constitution.
  I appreciate each and every one of my colleagues who spoke during the 
debate on this rule. I fully recognize that many of us will have to 
simply, yet respectfully, as I said, disagree.
  However, Mr. Speaker, I know that I stand today with the citizens of 
Georgia's 11th Congressional District, as well as the vast majority of 
Georgia and the Nation's citizens who continue to be outraged by the 
ability of a few judges to overturn our legal precedent and our 
traditional family values.
  In 2004, the people of Georgia affirmed with a vote of 76 percent to 
24 percent that marriage is an institution between one man and one 
woman, and I proudly count myself among that 76 percent.
  I want to close this debate by reminding my colleagues that we have 
an opportunity today to stem the tide of this judicial activism and to 
restore the ability of the American people to establish policies that 
affect them and their lives through their elected Representatives.
  Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleagues, please support 
this rule, and upon the conclusion of general debate, I ask my 
colleagues to affirm legal and historical precedent and defend our 
traditions about supporting the underlying amendment to restore the 
definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time and I move the 
previous question on the resolution.
  The previous question was ordered.
  The resolution was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 918, I call 
up the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 88) proposing an amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States relating to marriage, and ask for its 
immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the title of the joint resolution.
  The text of the joint resolution is as follows:

                              H.J. Res. 88

        Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
     United States of America in Congress assembled   (two-thirds 
     of each House concurring therein), That the following article 
     is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United 
     States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as 
     part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of 
     three-fourths of the several States:

                              ``Article --

       ``Section 1.  This article may be cited as the `Marriage 
     Protection Amendment'.
       ``Section 2.  Marriage in the United States shall consist 
     only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this 
     Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be 
     construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents 
     thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a 
     man and a woman.''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 918, the 
gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Kingston) and the gentleman from New York 
(Mr. Nadler) each will control 45 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, in 1996, the United States Congress passed DOMA, Defense 
of Marriage Act, and the idea behind that was that marriage would be 
recognized in this Nation as the union of one man and one woman. It was 
not the first time that the United States Congress had gotten involved 
in the definition of marriage. Indeed, Mr. Lungren had reminded us 
earlier today that the State of Utah and Arizona and I believe one 
other Western State, in order to join the Union, needed to define in 
their State constitution marriage as a union between one man and one 
woman in order to become States in the United States.
  But unfortunately, since 1986, activist courts have eroded the intent 
of Congress, and so we come today on the House floor with H.J. Res. 88, 
which reads: ``Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the 
union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the 
constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage 
or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than 
the union of a man and a woman.''
  The purpose of this is to say that no governmental entity, 
legislative, executive or judicial, shall be allowed to alter the 
definition of marriage from one man and one woman, and it also prevents 
Federal courts from construing the Constitution or a State constitution 
to change that definition as well.
  This, indeed, is the desire of the American people at this point. A 
recent poll shows that 69 percent of Americans strongly agree that 
marriage should exist between one man and one woman. The State 
Constitution amendments on the States that have passed them, which now 
numbers 45, average by passing 71.5 percent. Forty-five States, Mr. 
Speaker, have enacted laws about this.
  Why is this necessary, then, to come back to the floor if the States 
are handling it? The fact is that there are great and deliberate 
challenges to DOMA in the United States Constitution. We can go back to 
1965. The Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut discovered a 
constitutional right to contraceptive noted in marital privacy, and the 
Court in Roe v. Wade in 1973 decided that the right to reproductive 
privacy was applied to abortion, wholly outside the context of a 
  In 1996, the Court in Bowers v. Hardwick refused to create a right of 
sexual privacy for same-sex couples, but then, in 2003, the Court 
reversed itself in the Lawrence v. Texas case. In the Lawrence case, 
the Court claimed not to have gone so far as to establish a right to 
same-sex marriage, but then the State of Massachusetts and the 
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court prominently used the Lawrence 
decision just a few months later to do exactly that.
  That is why we are here today, Mr. Speaker. This is not, as we have 
been charged, political pandering. This is not a frivolous exercise. 
Indeed, I certainly think this Congress, under the leadership of the 
Speaker and under the leadership of the President of the United States, 
has worked hard to address the issues of the day. We have worked hard 
in the war on terrorism.

[[Page H5298]]

  We have worked hard in the situation in the Middle East. Indeed, as 
the President attended the G-8, the number one topic right now is, of 
course, Lebanon and Israel.
  We have worked hard on balancing the budget. This House recently 
passed the line-item veto. This House has passed earmark reform. The 
Appropriations Committee, which has passed 10 out of its 11 
appropriations bills, has reduced spending $4 billion by cutting out 95 
different programs. We are engaged in addressing the fuel situation. We 
have passed tax reform which has created 5.3 million jobs since 2003.
  We are very involved in the issues of today, and I will say to you 
that marriage is certainly one of the top-tier issues that it is the 
right and the obligation of the United States Congress to address, and 
again, not a battle that we have chosen to have but one that has been 
thrown back to us by the courts.
  That is why we are here today, and we will have this debate, and I 
look forward to hearing from my friend from New York.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of marriage, in support of 
families, and in support of national unity. I rise against this 
proposed constitutional amendment, against the drumbeat of election-
year political demagoguery.
  This amendment does not belong in our Constitution. It is unworthy of 
our great Nation. The Senate could not even muster a simple majority to 
consider it, much less the requisite two-thirds to adopt it.
  We have amended the Constitution only 27 times in our history, the 
first 10 of them, the Bill of Rights, in 1791. Constitutional 
amendments have always been used to enhance and expand the rights of 
citizens, not to restrict them.
  The Bill of Rights, which was added in 1791, protected freedom of 
speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, the right to be 
secure in our homes. Ten amendments protecting individual rights and 
liberties. We amended the Constitution to permanently wipe away the 
stain of slavery, to expand the right to vote, to expand the rights of 
citizenship and to allow for the direct election of senators.
  Now we are being asked to amend the Constitution again, to single out 
a single group and to say to them for all time, you cannot even attempt 
to win the right to marry.
  This amendment was introduced last month. We have never held hearings 
on it. The Judiciary Committee has never considered it. Never. Don't 
let anyone tell you that the Judiciary Committee considered it in 2003. 
We did not. That was a different amendment we considered.
  But what is the Constitution between friends when there is an 
election coming up? From what precisely would this amendment protect 
marriage? From divorce? From adultery? No. Evidently, the threat to 
marriage is the fact that there are millions of people in this country 
who very much believe in marriage, who very much want to marry but who 
are not permitted to marry.

                              {time}  1145

  This amendment, contrary to what we have heard, doesn't block 
activist courts from allowing people of the same sex to marry. It would 
also prevent their fellow citizens from deciding democratically to 
permit them to do so, whether through the legislative process or even 
through a referendum of the people.
  And why is it requisite on Congress to tell any State that the people 
of that State may not make up their minds for themselves on this 
question? Why is it necessary for the Federal Government to amend our 
Constitution to say to Massachusetts, which is going to hold a 
referendum on this subject in 2008, you may not do so because we have 
decided this for you?
  Mr. Speaker, I have been searching in vain for some indication of 
what might happen to my marriage, or to the marriage of anyone in this 
room, if loving couples, including couples with custody of children, 
are permitted to enjoy the blessings of matrimony.
  If there is a Member of this House who believes that his or her own 
marriage would be destroyed by someone else's same-sex marriage 
somewhere in America, I would welcome an explanation of what he or she 
thinks would happen to his or her marriage and why.
  Are there any takers? Anyone here who wants to get up and say why 
they believe their marriage would be threatened if two other people are 
permitted to marry?
  I didn't think so.
  The overheated rhetoric we have been hearing is reminiscent of the 
bellicose fear-mongering that followed the Supreme Court's decision 
almost 40 years ago in Loving v. Virginia which struck down State 
prohibitions against interracial marriage. The Supreme Court had 
overstepped its authority, we were told. The Supreme Court had 
overridden the democratic will of the majority, the Supreme Court had 
signed a death warrant for all that is good and pure in this Nation. 
Fortunately, we survived as a Nation and we are better for that Supreme 
Court decision.
  I believe firmly that in the not-too-distant future people will look 
back on these debates with the incredulity with which we now view the 
segregationist debates of years past. I think the public opinion polls 
are indicative: Opposition to gay marriage is a direct function of age. 
The older people are, the more set in the ways of the old 
discriminatory practices of this country they are, the more they oppose 
gay marriage. If you take a poll of people under 35 years old, 70 to 75 
percent are in favor of allowing gay marriage. That is the trend for 
the future because demographics is destiny.
  Mr. Speaker, this amendment actually does more than it purports to 
do. It would not only preempt any State law allowing people of the same 
gender to marry, even if that law was approved by the legislature or by 
referendum, it would preclude any State from extending medical 
visitation privileges or inheritance rights, for example, to same-sex 
couples. That is what ``the incidents thereof'' in the amendment means.
  Proponents of this amendment have already tried to use a similar 
prohibition against same-sex marriage to attack in court domestic-
partner benefits. So when they tell you this is only about marriage, 
don't believe it. No court has required that a marriage in one State be 
recognized in another, so don't believe anyone who tells you that this 
amendment is meant to protect your own State laws.
  The Defense of Marriage Act which passed this Congress and which the 
President signed in 1996 says no State can impose its marriage laws on 
  There are many loving families, Mr. Speaker, who deserve the benefits 
and protections of the law. They don't live just in New York or San 
Francisco or Boston, they live in every one of the 435 congressional 
districts of this great country. They are not from outer space, they 
are not a public menace, and they do not threaten anyone. They are our 
neighbors, our coworkers, our friends, our siblings, our parents, and 
our children. They deserve to be treated fairly. They deserve the same 
rights as any other family.
  I regret that this House is being so demeaned by this debate. It 
saddens me that this great institution would sink to these depths to 
have what we have already heard on this floor and to what we will hear 
that amounts to pure bigotry against a minority population, even on the 
eve of an election.
  We know this amendment is not going anywhere. We know this is merely 
a political exercise. Shame on this House for playing politics with 
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I would just point out to my good friend 
from New York that 16 States have recently passed marriage protection 
amendments, and on an average they have passed by 71.5 percent.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the primary 
author of H.J. Res. 88, the gentlewoman from Colorado (Mrs. Musgrave).
  Mrs. MUSGRAVE. Mr. Speaker, I thank Speaker Hastert and Mr. Leader 
Boehner for bringing this bill to the floor. Letters and e-mails and 
phone calls continue to pour into my office urging me to continue in 
this effort. We know that polls show that the overwhelming majority of 
the American people support traditional marriage, marriage between a 
man and a woman.

[[Page H5299]]

  The people have a right to know whether their elected Representatives 
agree with them about protecting traditional marriage.
  I cannot think of a better good that this body may pursue than to 
promote and defend the idea that every child deserves both a father and 
a mother. Studies demonstrate the utmost importance of the presence of 
a child's biological parents in a child's happiness, health and future 
achievements. If we chip away at the institution which binds these 
parents and the family together, the institution of marriage, you begin 
to chip away at the future success of that child.
  I would not want to negate the heroic job that many single parents do 
every day in providing the necessary support to a child's happiness. 
But today we are discussing what social policy is best for our 
children, and I am convinced that the best is found in promoting and 
defending traditional marriage.
  Are there other important issues? Of course there are, but preserving 
the institution of marriage, which, as the Supreme Court said many 
years ago, is ``the foundation of the family and of society, without 
which there would be neither civilization nor progress,'' certainly 
warrants a few hours of our time. And even if there are other issues we 
need to address, as a former Member, one of my favorites, J.C. Watts 
said, ``Members of Congress are capable of walking and chewing gum at 
the same time.''
  And where are those who say we are wasting time when we were renaming 
post offices and Federal buildings earlier this year? Mr. Speaker, if 
we have enough time to rename post offices and Federal buildings, 
surely we can spend one afternoon debating whether or not the 
traditional definition of marriage is worth preserving.
  Others have asked why we need this amendment given that courts in New 
York, Georgia, and Nebraska have recently turned back challenges to 
traditional marriage. I just would like to say these decisions simply 
do not settle the issues. Cases in New Jersey and Washington, to name 
only two of many, remain pending.
  Additionally, the Massachusetts Supreme Court's Goodridge decision 
legalizing same-sex marriage in that State continues to stand. Just 
last week, legislators in Massachusetts put off a measure to give the 
people the opportunity to decide this issue for themselves. While the 
Goodridge case remains on the books, court dockets all over the country 
will continue to be ensnarled with same-sex marriage litigation as 
opponents of traditional marriage continue to fight to expand their 
agenda to the rest of the country.
  While recent court victories are not unimportant, the ultimate court 
test, the test in the United States Supreme Court, is still on the 
horizon. And legal experts agree at least four and probably five of the 
members of that court will act to overturn traditional marriage across 
America. That is why most legal experts expect DOMA to fall once a 
challenge finally reaches the high Court, which is why it would be the 
very height of foolishness to rely on the Supreme Court to protect 
marriage. Sadly, that august tribunal is part of the problem. Justice 
Scalia has already warned us that the Court's 2003 Lawrence decision 
was only the beginning of a road at the end of which is a radical 
redefinition of marriage at the hands of the Court.
  Does anyone else see the irony in the opponents of this bill calling 
on us to wait until the Supreme Court rules before deciding this issue? 
Many of those who protested the loudest that DOMA was unconstitutional 
when it was enacted in 1996 are today the ones who say we ought to 
presume DOMA is constitutional until the high Court tells us otherwise.
  The American people want us to settle this issue now. They don't want 
us to wait to see how much havoc the courts will wreak on the 
definition of marriage before we act to protect it.
  Our marriage laws represent centuries of cumulative wisdom regarding 
the best way to address public concerns about property, inheritance, 
legal liability and raising children. The last matter is especially 
important because we now know beyond any reasonable doubt that children 
thrive best when they are raised in a traditional family. And 
statistically speaking, the further we go from this ideal, the more we 
can expect to see increases in measures as a whole host of social 
  Again, this is not to say that children raised in nontraditional 
families will necessarily fall prey to these problems, but public 
policy is based on cumulative, not individual experience. Facts, as it 
has been said, are stubborn things. And one sad but stubborn fact is 
that the statistical dice are loaded against children who are raised 
without a father and a mother.
  Some oppose the Marriage Protection Amendment on the grounds that the 
institution of marriage is already in trouble. Why be concerned, they 
say, about same-sex marriage when the divorce rate among couples in 
traditional marriages is so high? But can't you see this is a non 
sequitur? It is like saying to a doctor, The patient already has 
pneumonia, so why are you taking precautions to prevent him from 
getting a staph infection? Yes, traditional marriage has its problems, 
we all know that, and the high divorce rate is a national scandal. But 
far from undermining my point, this reinforces it. We are dismayed by 
the breakup of families because we know broken families lead to more 
and more children being deprived of the tremendous benefit of having 
both their mom and dad around to raise them.
  Other opponents of this amendment argue that the existence of same-
sex marriage in Massachusetts has not caused the earth to stop spinning 
on its axis, so they ask what is all this fuss about. After only 2 
years of experience, it is absurd to suggest that we can even begin to 
guess how the redefinition of marriage in that State will ramify in the 
future. And the fact that same-sex marriages in Massachusetts do not 
directly affect my marriage or your marriage means nothing in regard to 
the public policy debate. The breakup of the family next door does not 
directly affect your marriage or my marriage either, but we all 
recognize that every family that comes apart is a tragedy, and that is 
why our laws have always sought to encourage, not undermine, 
traditional families.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan).
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, you are the Republican Party in America and 
what do you do? You have had control of the House of Representatives, 
you control the Supreme Court, you control the United States Senate, 
you control the White House. What are you going to do?
  Seven million people in America are unemployed.
  There are 46 million Americans that don't have health insurance.
  The minimum wage hasn't been increased in nearly a decade. The gap 
between people who are wealthy and people who are poor is getting wider 
and wider.
  We have a war in Iraq that has killed 2,500 Americans, 20,000 
Americans have been seriously injured, and a policy going in the wrong 
  You have a failed prescription drug plan, written by the prescription 
drug industry behind closed doors, that is confusing seniors. It is 
going to cost taxpayers $700 billion.
  Gasoline is $3 a gallon at the pump.

                              {time}  1200

  Global warming is threatening our environment and our health. What 
are you going to do? Let's have a debate about gay marriage again on 
the floor of the House.
  We are not going to debate an exit strategy in Iraq. We don't have a 
plan to lower the cost of gasoline. We don't have a plan to provide 
health care or to give American seniors the ability to buy prescription 
drugs at a low cost in bulk. Oh, no. Oh no, this is Tuesday in 
Washington in the House of Representatives, and we are going to debate 
gay marriage.
  This debate is meant to do nothing more than get the American people 
to look at other issues, ignore gas prices, ignore the unemployment 
rate. Let's talk about gay marriage.
  I am proud to be from Massachusetts and represent 8,000 couples who 
have been married. And let me tell you about one of the couples in my 
district, Bonnie Winokar and her partner Mary McCarthy. They have been 
together for 19 years. But for 17 of those years, Bonnie was unable to 
provide Mary with the health care benefits that she

[[Page H5300]]

was afforded as a high school math teacher. Two years ago they got 
married and now this happy couple has health insurance. They have 
coverage. They have family visitation and inheritance rights that every 
other married couple in America has.
  I ask my colleagues, how do Bonnie and Mary threaten other marriages? 
I don't feel threatened by the 8,000 couples in Massachusetts who have 
been married. As a matter of fact, I want to tell you something. People 
in Massachusetts overwhelmingly now realize that approving gay marriage 
has not in any way negatively impacted heterosexual couples. That is 
why, overwhelmingly, people in Massachusetts support the SJC decision.
  But we ought to keep clear and keep in mind that this debate today is 
not really about gay marriage. It is about the failure of this 
administration and this Congress to do the right thing by the American 
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the former attorney 
general of California, the distinguished Dan Lungren.
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, where to begin? We 
have heard the argument that somehow we shouldn't bring constitutional 
amendments to the floor; we shouldn't amend the Constitution.
  It is a very interesting argument when you realize there are two ways 
to amend the Constitution, one is the formal process that is contained 
in the Constitution itself, which we are embarking upon today, and the 
other one is by activist judges.
  People don't like to hear that. They seem to say judges have the 
right to amend the Constitution, to give new meaning to the words of 
the Constitution, to actually give the opposite meaning to the words of 
the Constitution and we have to accept that forever, because if we do 
anything opposed to that, we are somehow changing the Constitution, 
even though we are following the exact requirements of the Constitution 
  The second thing that is said is wait a second, no court has declared 
marriage to be unconstitutional in the traditional sense, so we should 
wait until that happens. In other words, if we take an anticipatory 
action, somehow we are unconstitutional.
  How have we changed the terms of the debate when we are talking about 
a traditional definition of marriage that has stood the test of time 
for thousands of years, has been understood by every single one of our 
Founding Fathers at the time of the formation of this country, that 
somehow we are the ones that are upsetting the apple cart; when, in 
fact, it is those who wish to change this traditional definition in a 
radical way?
  They say, well, the Federal Government should not be involved in it. 
And yet we pointed out historically the Federal Government has been 
involved in defining marriage, refusing to allow at least the State of 
Utah to become a State until they accepted that definition of marriage.
  What we are talking about is changing the fundamental vision of 
marriage that is in our civil structure, a preferential treatment that 
is allowed under our laws for marriage, understood traditionally. And 
they say, well, we passed DOMA so you don't have to worry. Yet, many 
who are saying that argued on the floor of the House that DOMA was 
unconstitutional. Professor Lawrence Tribe has said it is 
unconstitutional. Many of the organizations who are against this 
particular amendment have argued in court that it is unconstitutional 
and believe it is only inevitable until they overturn it by way of 
their particular lawsuits brought against it.
  So the question here is really, do you believe there is reason to 
maintain the traditional definition of marriage, allowing it to be the 
essential unit of our society, not that there aren't other units of 
society, but the essential unit of our society that has withstood the 
test of time? That is the simple question before us.
  We never asked for this debate. This debate began with, yes, activist 
judges who said, wait a second, times have changed and, therefore, the 
traditional notion of marriage is out the window.
  Why? Who said so? Because of what?
  This is not a question of discrimination as some have argued on the 
other side, unless they are saying we are discriminating against bigamy 
and polygamy, because the United States has spoken, as I said before, 
in saying the traditional definition of marriage is enshrined in our 
institutions and in our law.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the distinguished 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Linda T. Sanchez).
  Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise to urge my 
colleagues to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment. The Republican 
leadership clearly doesn't get it. Our country is grappling with 
skyrocketing gas prices, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the constant 
threat of terrorism, concerns about pension security, and the rising 
cost of health care insurance.
  But instead of addressing these priorities, what does the Republican 
leadership decide we need to focus on? Gay marriage, of course. As if 
passing the Federal Marriage Amendment would magically make all of our 
country's biggest challenges go away.
  This resolution is not only a waste of time; it is completely 
unnecessary. The Senate has already rejected this amendment, so we know 
that even if the House passes this, the bill is not going anywhere.
  Furthermore, 45 States already ban same-sex marriage, either by 
statute or by their State constitution.
  Even more important, passage of this amendment would mark the first 
time that our Constitution has been amended to take rights away from 
people. Amending our Constitution to force States to discriminate 
against a targeted group of Americans would tarnish our history of 
protecting everybody's equal rights under the law.
  I therefore strongly urge all of my colleagues to vote against the 
Federal Marriage Amendment.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Arizona (Mr. Kolbe).
  Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Speaker, the proposed constitutional amendment before 
us today illustrates exactly why those who wrote the Constitution of 
the United States went to such extraordinary lengths to ensure that it 
was a long and arduous task to amend it.
  The procedure to pass a constitutional amendment was designed 
specifically to compel the Nation and its leaders to carefully consider 
the significant and profound implications such a change could bring. 
This issue simply fails to meet the threshold of what the Framers 
called a ``great and extraordinary occasion.'' But of even greater 
significance is the issue of individual rights. This proposed amendment 
would be the first time we would amend that document to restrict human 
freedoms, rather than to protect and expand them.
  Let's be honest. This bill has been brought to the House floor by the 
leadership solely because of election-year politics. The very process 
by which this bill comes up is an affront to this institution. Like 
previous attempts, it was not considered by any committee of the House, 
it was not brought to the floor by the chairman of that committee, 
rather it was brought by the leadership, who decided to take it upon 
themselves to do the work of the committees and their chairmen.
  Moreover, this same legislation was considered in the Senate, where 
it didn't even receive a majority vote, much less the required two-
thirds for a constitutional amendment. Why then are we rushing to 
judgment here today? What is the compelling reason to consider this 
  Sixteen States have passed constitutional amendments that would 
define marriage in their own States as being between a man and a woman. 
Others, including my own State, are considering such amendments this 
year. While I may disagree with the voters in my State or any State in 
adopting such an amendment to their constitution, that is their 
prerogative, and State constitutions are where they should be 
  For better than 200 years, family law has been exclusively the domain 
of the States. That is where it should remain. Vice President Cheney 
said exactly this, and I agree with him. The chief crafter of the 
Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, former Representative Bob

[[Page H5301]]

Barr, said as much, and I agree with him. Marriage and divorce, 
inheritance and adoption, child custody, these are matters correctly 
left to the States. It does not belong in the Constitution of the 
United States.
  But that is the genius of our Federal system, to allow States to find 
solutions to issues such as family law which work uniquely for them. 
The States can pass their own laws, and many have. We should not be in 
the business of passing a constitutional amendment to make this point. 
And we certainly should not be tampering with the Constitution to 
address an ongoing societal dialogue on, admittedly, a very difficult 
  Amending the Constitution is, thankfully, a difficult task. That 
cumbersome process has saved us from making ill-advised changes during 
these past 215 years. It will save us now from this ill-advised action.
  We have not used the amending process to limit the rights of 
citizens. From the first amendment to the 14th, the original Framers 
and the Congress that followed have sought to expand, to protect the 
rights of citizens. This would be a unique amendment in that it takes 
away rights from one group while specifically conferring them upon 
another. Try to find another provision in the Constitution that does 
this. You will look in vain.
  Mr. Speaker, this Congress and those after should be about protecting 
and expanding freedoms. This proposed amendment to our Constitution is 
about discrimination. It is about fear. It is unnecessary. It is 
unwarranted, and it should be soundly defeated.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Barrett).
  Mr. BARRETT of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support 
of H.J. Res. 88, the Marriage Protection Amendment.
  The debate before us today is about ensuring that the will of the 
people of the United States is protected.
  My home State of South Carolina is one of 45 States that has already 
enacted laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. 
Our message is clear: marriage matters, and it should be limited to 
that of a man and a woman.
  So I stand here today wondering why we are faced with the fact that a 
handful of judges have taken it upon themselves to hand down rulings 
that redefine marriage for moms and dads and most importantly children 
across this Nation.
  Mr. Speaker, some in this country, elected by no one, believe they 
have the right to supersede the wishes of my constituents and the 
constituents of other Members here today.
  I urge my colleagues to join me today in supporting the Marriage 
Protection Amendment ensuring constituents' voices are heard.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished 
ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Conyers).
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the ranking member of the 
Constitution Subcommittee, Mr. Nadler, for his fine work in this area. 
He hasn't had all that much to do because the bill never came to the 
Constitution Committee. We never had hearings. We never had a markup. 
We didn't even have supporters of this amendment yesterday at the Rules 
Committee which set the rules that allowed it to come to the floor 
  And so I am happy to join in opposition with a number of friends that 
I would like to indicate. First, the NAACP, which is in convention here 
in Washington this week, is strongly opposed to this amendment. So is 
the AFL-CIO and the American Civil Liberties Union, the Jewish 
Committee, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Council of La Raza, 
the National Urban League, Planned Parenthood, and countless religious 
organizations. They are all telling us to leave the Constitution alone.
  The other consideration that I would bring to the Members' attention 
is the far-reaching scope of this amendment that has never been heard 
in the Judiciary Committee. Not only would it ban same-sex marriages, 
but it would also deprive same-sex couples and their families of 
fundamental protections such as hospital visitation, inheritance 
rights, and health care benefits.
  Ladies and gentlemen, this amendment is divisive. It is unnecessary. 
It is constitutionally extreme. And I must point out that the amendment 
has already been debated in the other body and did not prevail. What we 
are doing, as has been widely recognized, is a political act. It is 
getting near election time. Let's whip up the forces of conservatism. 
Let's deal with this subject to energize the political base 4 months 
before the election.

                              {time}  1215

  Ladies and gentlemen, please, the amendment is unnecessary because 
our Constitution has been amended only 27 times in 219 years and to 
preserve our right to free speech was one of the objectives, to protect 
the right to assemble was another objective of a constitutional 
amendment, the right to vote was subject to constitutional amendment. 
The right to be free of discrimination was subject to constitutional 
amendment. They all ensured the integrity and continuity of our 
  So I urge a ``no'' vote on the Musgrave same-sex marriage amendment.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that, in fact, under 
H.J. Res. 88, State legislatures can allow same-sex benefits in the 
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from 
Indiana (Mr. Pence).
  (Mr. PENCE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. PENCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the marriage 
amendment and offer heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the 
gentlewoman from Colorado (Mrs. Musgrave) for her principled, 
compassionate, and courageous leadership on this issue from her very 
first term in Congress.
  Mr. Speaker, in the wake of ominous decisions by activist courts 
across the land, I come to the well today to defend that institution 
that forms the backbone of our society: traditional marriage. Like 
millions of Americans, I believe that marriage matters, that it was 
ordained by God, instituted among men, that it is the glue of the 
American family and the safest harbor to raise children.
  I believe first, though, marriage should be protected, because it 
wasn't our idea. Several millennia ago the words were written that a 
man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the 
two shall become one flesh. It was not our idea; it was God's idea. And 
I say that unashamedly on the floor where the words ``In God We Trust'' 
appear above your chair, Mr. Speaker.
  And let me say emphatically that this debate today is not about 
discrimination. I believe that if someone chooses another life-style 
than I have chosen, that that is their right in a free society. But 
tolerance does not require that we permit our courts to redefine an 
institution upon which our society depends. Marriage matters, according 
to the researchers. Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found that 
throughout history, societal collapse was always brought about 
following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.
  And marriage matters to kids. As my Hoosier colleague and friend Vice 
President Dan Quayle first accurately observed, Mr. Speaker, marriage 
is the safest harbor to raise children. Sociologists tell us that 
children raised by married parents experience lower rates of premarital 
childbearing, illicit drug use, arrest, health, emotional and 
behavioral problems, school dropout rate, and poverty.
  And marriage even matters to adults. A recent 5-year study in 1998 
found that continuously married husbands and wives experience 
significantly better emotional health and less depression than people 
of other marital status.
  Let us say ``yes'' very humbly today to the marriage as traditionally 
defined. Let us say ``no'' to activist courts bent on redefining it.
  Marriage matters, Mr. Speaker. It was ordained by God, instituted in 
the law. It is the glue of the American family and the safest harbor to 
raise children. Let us put in that most sacred of documents an 
affirmation of that institution upon which our society demands.
  I urge my colleagues to embrace H.J. Res. 88, the Marriage Protection 

[[Page H5302]]

  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker I yield 3\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt).
  Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Two years ago this May, people in Massachusetts, my home State, woke 
up thinking and talking about same-sex marriage like everyone else. You 
could not avoid it. It was on the cover of every newspaper. It was a 
national issue.
  Now, since then, 9,000 gay and lesbian couples have been married in 
Massachusetts. And you know what the news flash is? The news flash is 
that there is not a news flash. The sky has not fallen. The tsunamis 
have not come. Everyone is going through their daily lives.
  Mr. Speaker, the average American family does not wake up every 
morning worrying about same-sex marriage. Instead, they are worried 
about the price of gas that they have to put in their vehicle to take 
their kids to school. They worry about whether their kids are getting a 
decent education. They worry about health care. They worry about 
mortgage rates and whether they will ever be able to retire.
  And if they are worried about any marriage, I would suggest it is 
their own. There are plenty of threats to marriage out there today. We 
are all aware of them. Trying to find time to spend with their 
families, the pressures of making ends meet, all the challenges that we 
all know exist. But what is not a threat is gay marriage.
  In Massachusetts gay couples are not masterminding acts of terrorism. 
They are not cutting Medicaid. They are not putting a hole in the 
Medicare prescription drug program. They are not running up the Federal 
deficit. They are doing what everyone else does. They are getting 
through life.
  Others have alluded to the constitutional issues. There are States 
everywhere, Mr. Speaker, that are addressing this through the 
constitutional means available to them as States, and that is fine. A 
recent ruling in Massachusetts from the Supreme Judicial Court that 
entered the famous decision that has provoked some controversy said 
that if the people of Massachusetts want to overrule the decision of 
the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, they can via their own State 
constitutional mechanism. Let them do it if they want to. As others 
have said, this is an area that has been reserved continually through 
our jurisprudence to our States.
  But, no, it is an election year. We know it is an election year and 
we know you have to do it. You have got to energize the base. But the 
American people are not stupid. They see through this. They know what 
is going to happen.
  I remember when the President came to office pledging that he would 
be a uniter, not a divider. And what we are doing here today is 
divisive and dividing Americans. Let us experience a sense of 
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Pitts).
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, marriage has been under attack for years in 
America. Regardless of where we look, we have seen a gradual weakening 
of the institution that historically we have relied on to nurture 
America's kids.
  And while marriage has taken a beating from divorce and other 
factors, the statistics still show that the best home for kids is still 
with a mom and dad who are married and love each other. That is the 
ideal we are talking about here: the best home for kids. By protecting 
marriage, this amendment promotes such an environment for our kids.
  Statistics show children living with their mom and dad are safer, 
that they are less likely to be abused or neglected, that they have 
fewer health problems, that they engage in fewer risky behaviors than 
their peers, that they are more likely to do well in school, that they 
are better off economically, that they display increased ability to 
adapt to changing circumstances. Study after study shows us this, Mr. 
  But most Americans do not need a scientific study to tell them that 
marriage is important for our children and our families. When given the 
chance to have their voices heard on this issue, they have 
overwhelmingly come down on the side of protecting marriage. Twenty 
States have now passed voter referendums to amend their constitution to 
protect marriage. Six more will have it on the ballot this November. 
Six more next year. There is a pattern here. Every time the people are 
actually given a chance to vote on this, they choose to protect 
marriage overwhelmingly. In more than half of the 20 States, they have 
amended their constitution with over 70 percent of the vote or more.
  These numbers should tell us something, Mr. Speaker. They should tell 
us that people understand intuitively what studies show us empirically: 
Marriage is important, it is the foundation of the family and it is the 
safest harbor to raise children.
  This amendment protects marriage from the whims of activist courts 
that would further undermine this institution by radically redefining 
its definition. It would see to it that the people have a say on an 
issue of fundamental importance to our Nation.
  It is the right policy, Mr. Speaker, and I urge all my colleagues to 
support the Marriage Protection Amendment today.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer).
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy in 
permitting me to speak on this issue.
  I have heard my friends on the other side talk about marriage being 
under attack. Well, I think it probably is in many sectors. Marriages 
are under strain today in terms of economics. There are social cross-
currents. We see failed marriages. But it is not under attack by our 
gay and lesbian citizens.
  The gay and lesbian citizens I know in my community are dealing with 
the everyday stresses of their lives, which are actually more difficult 
than most Americans. They are struggling against discrimination in the 
workplace. They are struggling against discrimination and in some cases 
violence directed towards gay and lesbian citizens. And every day gay 
and lesbian couples in long-term committed relationships, sometimes 
involving children, have to struggle with the fact that they are not 
afforded the protections and the resources to be able to deal with the 
everyday challenges like health care emergencies. That is what they are 
dealing with. They are not assaulting my marriage or anybody else's. 
They are trying to deal with a difficult hand that has been dealt to 
  The good news is that we are seeing the changes that are going to 
make a difference in the long run. The good news is that younger 
Americans wonder what bizarre episode we are involved with here. They 
are not peddling discrimination and hate. They have a much more 
positive and healthy attitude towards their neighbors, their friends, 
their relations, who happen to be gay and lesbian. The good news is 
that the States are trying to figure out ways to handle it.
  The bad news is that Congress is not part of the solution but is 
instead pandering politically in something that has already been killed 
in the other Chamber, that has no chance of passage; going through a 
ritual that is actually setting us back.
  I am confident that in the long run truth and justice is going to 
prevail. We are not going to be having any assaults on any heterosexual 
marriages, but we will be dealing with how we are going to provide the 
necessary protections for our gay and lesbian citizens. That day, 
sadly, is not today.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I now yield 5 minutes to the distinguished 
gentlewoman from Wisconsin (Ms. Baldwin).
  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Nadler for yielding the time.
  At the beginning of every session of Congress, I raise my right hand 
and state the following oath: ``I, Tammy Baldwin, do solemnly swear 
that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States 
against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith 
and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without 
any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and 
faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to 
enter. So help me God.''

[[Page H5303]]

                              {time}  1230

  I have felt deep pride in our country and our democracy and 
particularly in the Constitution itself every time I have taken that 
oath. But if we were to pass this amendment, it would put a stain on 
our founding document.
  In our democracy since its founding, a basic premise is that in a 
government by, for and of the people, the people must have the ability 
to petition their government for the redress of grievances. Americans 
who wanted women to have the right to vote petitioned their government. 
Americans who wanted an end to slavery petitioned their government. 
Americans who wanted an end to child labor petitioned their government. 
Americans who wanted to end segregation policies petitioned their 
government. Americans who wanted to protect our environment petitioned 
their government.
  Our constitutional system, the checks and balances between the three 
coequal branches of government, was created to ensure protection of 
minority rights, and throughout history many groups of individuals have 
sought such protection from their government. Today, Americans who want 
the protection of marriage laws for their same-sex partnerships are in 
the process of petitioning their government.
  The Constitution is for expanding rights, opportunities and 
aspirations. I want to see the day when I can protect my family, my 
life partner of 10 years, through the same laws and with the same 
obligations, responsibilities and rights as can straight Americans. 
These are my aspirations, both as an American and as a Member of 
Congress, to see the Constitution that I have sworn to support and 
protect illuminating a path to justice and equality for more and more 
  The amendment we are debating today would do just the opposite. Why 
would we amend the U.S. Constitution to say that one group of 
Americans, gay and lesbian Americans, can no longer petition their 
government for redress of grievances? A healthy and a vibrant debate on 
same-sex marriage is occurring throughout this Nation at this very time 
in break rooms, in dining rooms, in church basements. Don't cut it off. 
It is what democracy is all about.
  One State in our Union allows same-sex marriages, several others have 
passed civil union protections for same-sex couples, and others still 
are silent on the issue or have passed laws or State constitutional 
amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage. This is what happens in a 
democracy when people petition their government for change.
  But we also know that this really isn't about the substance. It is 
about politics. Why else would we be debating and voting on a measure 
that the Senate has already effectively killed?
  You will get your rollcall vote, but shame on you for playing 
politics with people's families and their lives.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Missouri (Mr. Graves).
  Mr. GRAVES. Mr. Speaker, today I proudly rise in support of House 
Joint Resolution 88, the Marriage Protection Amendment.
  Today, Mr. Speaker, 45 out of 50 States have enacted laws defining 
marriage as a union between a man and a woman. That is 90 percent of 
the States, and these States contain 88 percent of the population.
  In August 2004, the people of my home State of Missouri 
overwhelmingly voted by a majority of 71 to 29 percent to approve a 
State constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition of 
marriage. Unfortunately, this sacred institution and the will of the 
people are under direct assault by an out-of-control judiciary branch. 
Radical judges on the supreme court of Massachusetts have already 
imposed same-sex marriage in that Commonwealth against the wishes of a 
majority of citizens, and I fear the activist State and Federal judges 
will soon impose same-sex marriage upon other jurisdictions in our 
  What that means is the people in my home State of Missouri may have 
legal recognition of same-sex marriage forced upon them, even though 71 
percent of Missourians voted to adopt an amendment preventing such a 
  Mr. Speaker, it is becoming increasingly apparent that our only 
recourse is to amend the Constitution of the United States. This is not 
a decision I take lightly, but we must act to defend the foundation of 
our society. Without such an amendment, people in Missouri, and many 
other States, will be disenfranchised by the courts.
  Yes, Mr. Speaker, the Senate has dealt with this, and, no, this isn't 
a political issue. The reason that the Senate has dealt with this is 
exactly why the House needs to stand up and send a positive message to 
the American people about what is the best married environment to raise 
our children, and that is an environment that is a marriage between a 
man and a woman.
  Mr. Speaker, this Congress as representatives of the American people 
has a duty to protect marriage from attack by the courts. I urge my 
colleagues to vote in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Frank).
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, first, let's be very clear: 
this is not an attempt to restrain judges.
  There have been two sources of opposition to same-sex marriage. A 
large number of people who bear those of us who are gay and lesbian no 
ill will have been opposed to it because they have heard that it would 
lead to social disruption. That is a common theme when we deal with 
issues involving particular groups in our society against whom there 
has been discrimination.
  I invite people to go back and read the debates over the Americans 
with Disabilities Act to read what people like Pat Robertson said in 
opposition to it. I remember this debate 30 years ago in Massachusetts 
when we were talking about the Equal Rights Amendment. And so, yes, I 
understand that there are people who are opposed to same-sex marriage 
who do not in any way feel themselves prejudiced against gay men and 
lesbians, but who worry about the social consequences.
  I think here we can point to the facts. We had full civil unions in 
Vermont in 2000. We have had same-sex marriage in Massachusetts for 
over 2 years. In no case is there the slightest evidence of social 
disruption. Let me say, though, that is one wing of the opposition.
  There is another wing in the opposition, the people who are motivated 
by this, who really, frankly, dislike the fact that we exist; and 
disliking the fact that we exist individually, they are particularly 
distraught at the notion that we will associate with each other in 
various ways.
  I want to address now the people who are worried about the social 
consequences, because I invite people to look at the evidence. There 
were no negatives.
  But now let me go back to the point about the judges, because that is 
relevant to Massachusetts, and the points are linked. Because in 
Massachusetts what we have seen is that thousands of people have had 
their lives enriched by being able to love each other in a legally 
connected way, and it has been a good thing for them, and it has had 
zero negative consequences. I believe the political community in 
Massachusetts, through the elected legislature, maybe through a 
referendum, although I hope it doesn't come to that, will support this.
  Be very clear: this amendment says that even if the people of 
Massachusetts, after 4 years of same-sex marriage being in existence, 
vote to ratify it by a majority, their vote does not count. This 
amendment cancels out a referendum.
  In California, where the legislature voted for it, if a Governor 
should be elected in November who would sign that bill, this amendment 
says, no, legislature; no, Governor. We the Federal Government will 
decide. So it is not about restraining activist judges. It is about 
overruling any decision.
  So then the question is, Why do it? Usually our view would be that if 
people are going to benefit from something, enjoy it, we would let that 
happen, in the absence of harm.
  Now, clearly there is value to same-sex marriage. There are men and 
women, millions of us, who, for reasons we don't understand, nobody 
really does, in my judgment, feel an attraction to people of the same 
sex. What many of them have said is, you know what, we would like to 
have our love put into a legally connected context.

[[Page H5304]]

We want to be legally bound to each other, as we are emotionally and 
  Who is that hurting? Well, we are told that it hurts marriage. And 
here is where the illogic comes in. People get up and say we have to be 
against letting two women marry because it is very important that men 
and women marry.
  There is no connection. Nothing here threatens heterosexual marriage. 
It is just the most illogical argument I have ever heard. If two men 
are attracted to each other and want to live together legally, how does 
that endanger heterosexual marriage?
  So the argument that we must ban same-sex marriage to protect 
heterosexual marriage literally makes no sense whatsoever. No one has 
shown me what the connection is. As a matter of fact, of course, people 
will have an example of people of the same sex living together, and if 
that somehow destabilizes heterosexual marriage, then it is going to 
  If the gentleman wants me to yield, I would be glad to yield.
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, what I would like 
to ask is this: Does the gentleman see any problem with society 
allowing preferential status in some ways to the traditional marriage 
between a man and a woman? Because that, to me, is what it really comes 
down to.
  Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I would say to the gentleman this: no, I 
think we give preferential status to people who are married over people 
who aren't. What I don't see, what no one has argued, is how does 
allowing two men have that status interfere with the status. I assume 
you give a preferential status because you want to give people an 
incentive to marry. Okay, let's do that. Let's give people an incentive 
to marry.
  But if you are a heterosexual strongly attracted to someone of the 
opposite sex and really not at all attracted to the idea of someone of 
your same sex, how does the existence of that undermine this?
  Yes, I think we should give a preference to heterosexual marriage. We 
should incentivize it. How does the existence of same-sex marriage 
discourage or retard heterosexual marriage? Would anyone want to answer 
that for me?
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Missouri (Mr. Akin).
  Mr. AKIN. Mr. Speaker, the debate before us today, as has been 
highlighted by people from both sides of the aisle, is about a 
definition of marriage. I think that the point that in the subtlest way 
has to be made clear, it is something that most Americans understand 
logically, and that is marriage is not about love; it is about a love 
that can bear children. There is a difference.
  I love my parents. I love my family. I have friends that I love. But 
I love my wife and we are married. Marriage is a love that bears 
children and replenishes society along those lines.
  I have been married personally for 31 years. We have six children and 
even a grandson. The children are doing well. One is a first lieutenant 
that just came back from Fallujah. The other two sons are over at the 
Naval Academy. I have two daughters that have not gone off to school 
  All of those children, growing up with a mother and a father, have 
understood the first primitive concepts of government. They have 
understood what it is like to live under authority. They understand 
what it is like to work hard. They have learned to walk and to talk and 
to get along with each other and all of those things.
  We also know that historically the people that are filling our 
prisons, the people who socially get in trouble a lot are statistically 
people who have not had the blessings of a loving mother and father and 
a stable home. It doesn't mean that people can't get in trouble when 
they come from that background, but statistically it is a lot easier 
for a child to grow up with the benefit of a loving home with a mother 
and a father.
  So from a practical point of view, to preserve our civilization and 
society, it is important for us to preserve marriage. It is not just 
love; it is a love that produces children.
  We ask ourselves, well, is this such a big debate? Really it 
shouldn't be. We have 45 States that have passed legislation saying a 
marriage is between a man and a woman. Also anybody who knows something 
about the history of the human race knows that there is no civilization 
which has condoned homosexual marriage widely and openly that has long 
  It is for the practical reason that marriage is about bringing the 
next generation along, and it works best with one dad and one mom. That 
is what a great majority of Americans believe.
  So it is sad that we have to basically tell our courts, because of 
their activist nature, the beliefs of such a great block of Americans.
  I will conclude my comments by doing something that I don't know that 
I have done on the floor before, and that is to call attention to my 
colleague, the gentlewoman from Colorado, Marilyn Musgrave, who has had 
the courage to do what seems so obvious, so obvious to at least 45 
States' worth of Americans, to bring this amendment to the floor.
  For her efforts to defend plain old traditional marriage, she has had 
millions of dollars thrown against her, and even a television ad that I 
have seen of some fat pink-dressed lady that is stealing jewelry off a 
corpse. She has had to put up with that.
  I say to you, Congresswoman Musgrave, we are proud of you, and we 
thank you for standing up for something that is so foundational to our 

                              {time}  1245

  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished 
minority leader of the House, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. 
  Ms. PELOSI. I thank Mr. Nadler for yielding and for his great 
leadership in defending the Constitution of the United States which is, 
of course, our oath of office.
  Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank Mr. Conyers, the gentleman from 
Michigan, for his leadership on this important issue, and to say to 
Congresswoman Baldwin and to Congressman Frank what an honor it is to 
serve with you in the Congress. It is a privilege to call you 
  Mr. Speaker, the crisis in the Middle East reminds us that it is our 
responsibility as a Congress to address the urgent priorities of the 
American people. Yet today it is painfully obvious that instead of 
tackling the challenges facing our Nation and our world, Republicans 
want to persist in their agenda to distract and to divide.
  That is why the American people are demanding a new direction. That 
is why they say in great numbers that our country is going in the wrong 
direction. The challenges that our country face are too great for the 
Republican politics as usual. The constitutional amendment that we are 
debating today has been brought to this floor with full knowledge that 
it has no prospect for success either now or in the near future, the 
foreseeable future.
  This is a partisan exercise by Republicans to divide the American 
people rather than forge consensus to solve our urgent problems. Our 
Constitution, which we all take an oath to support and defend, is an 
enduring and living document that has throughout our history expanded 
rights, not diminished them.
  Though the Federal marriage amendment claims to protect marriage, it 
benefits no one and actually limits the rights of millions of 
Americans. In September, I am happy to say, my husband and I will be 
celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary. I am a mother of five, we 
have five children and five grandchildren, expecting our sixth 
grandchild in October. And we certainly appreciate the value of family.
  We see family in our community as a source of strength and a source 
of comfort to people. What constitutes that family is an individual and 
personal decision. But for all, it is a place where people find love, 
comfort and support. As we consider this amendment, we must understand 
we are talking about our fellow citizens, equal under the law, who are 
lesbian and gay, and what it means to them. They are members of our 
communities with dreams and aspirations, including their right to find 
comfort, love and support on equal terms.
  They have every right and every expectation of any American that they 
are entitled to the very purposes for which this country was founded, 

[[Page H5305]]

we are all created equal by our Creator, and endowed with inalienable 
rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  Let me tell you about two extraordinary constituents of mine, I have 
talked about them on the floor before. Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, 
both in their eighties, and they have lived together for more than 50 
years. They are grandparents, by the way, they are grandmothers. Their 
commitment, their love and their happiness are a source of strength to 
all who know them.
  They are leaders in our community and are held in high esteem by all 
who know them. Why should they not have the full protection of the law 
to be able to share each other's health and bereavement benefits, to be 
able to share all of the protections and rights accruing to financial 
relationships, inheritance and immigration?
  Why should Phyllis and Del and millions of gay and lesbian citizens 
not be treated equally and not be afforded the legal protections 
conferred by marriage? I will again vote against this amendment, as I 
have in the past, because it is counter to the noble ideas of liberty, 
freedom and equality for which this Nation stands.
  This amendment defiles our cherished Constitution by saying that some 
members of our society are not equal under the law. This is blatant 
discrimination. It is wrong. It does not belong in our Constitution. It 
is contrary again to the noble purpose for which this Nation was 
founded, and it is contrary to the principle of ending discrimination, 
unifying our country, and fostering equality for all.
  The American people demand that this Congress address their 
priorities: creation of jobs, creating a minimum wage that has not been 
raised in 9 years, gas prices that are over $3 a gallon, and the 
skyrocketing cost of higher education. That is what they want us to be 
doing here.
  Mr. Speaker, let us strive to do the work of the American people. Let 
us strive to unite our country, take our country in a whole new 
direction, let us honor our Constitution, let us honor all of God's 
children and let us reject this amendment.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
distinguished majority leader, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner).
  Mr. BOEHNER. I thank my colleague for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the Marriage 
Protection Amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Colorado (Mrs. 
  Mr. Speaker, over the past few days some people have asked me, Why 
are we having this debate and this vote? I think this is an issue that 
the American people want their Representatives to debate and to vote 
on. And that is why it is part of the American Values Agenda that we 
released last month.
  It has been front-page news all across the country, sparking intense 
debate amongst our fellow citizens. Many people that we represent 
believe the Congress needs to act. While 45 of the 50 States have 
either a State constitutional amendment or a statute that preserves the 
current definition of marriage, left-wing activist judges and officials 
at the local levels have struck down State laws protecting marriage.
  The American people should decide this issue, not out-of-touch judges 
who are bent on redefining what marriage is for America's moms and 
dads. Poll after poll shows that the American people don't want 
marriage to be redefined by judges today and for our children tomorrow.
  And protecting the institution of marriage safeguards, I believe, the 
American family. Studies show that children best flourish when one mom 
and one dad are there to raise them. And 30 years of social science 
evidence confirms that children respond best when their mom or dad are 
married and live at home. And that is why marriage and family law has 
emphasized the importance of marriage as the foundation of family, 
addressing the needs of children in the most positive way.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to send a strong message to 
America's moms and dads rather than allowing judges to redefine 
marriage. I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Harman).
  (Ms. HARMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend her 
  Ms. HARMAN. Mr. Speaker, how ironic that we consider this 
discriminatory, so-called marriage protection measure just one week 
after successfully renewing by a strong bipartisan margin a landmark 
piece of civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act.
  The Voting Rights Act brought millions of Americans into the heart of 
American democracy. It has been a critical milestone in our Nation's 
ongoing quest to live up to the ideals of equality and freedom embodied 
in the Constitution. In contrast, today's legislation, if passed, would 
be a tragic step backwards. Amending the Constitution to limit the 
rights of a specific group amounts to government-sanctioned 
discrimination, and tramples on the prerogative of the State to define 
community values.
  Regulation of marriage is historically a State-sanctioned enterprise. 
How hypocritical it is for those who often invoke States rights to 
claim this is a Federal issue. I believe I understand something about 
the cruel effects of discrimination on the individual and society at 
  You see, my father was a refugee from Nazi Germany. His medical 
school class was the last to graduate before the Nazi purges of Jewish 
students began. He and some of my family fled Germany a year later.
  Mr. Speaker, one of the greatest joys of my life occurred recently. I 
became a grandmother for the first time.
  I urge this House to carefully assess how our action today will 
impact future generations. And I wish for little Lucy a world in which 
prejudice and discrimination are mere footnotes in her high school 
history book. Vote ``no.''
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Forbes).
  Mr. FORBES. Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I think we can 
probably agree on today is the opponents of this legislation have 
questioned why we are even here. Mr. Speaker, I agree with them on that 
and disagree with them on almost everything else, because it just 
baffles me, as we think about our Founding Fathers dreaming that we 
would ever stand here and have to debate the definition of marriage and 
whether or not that was between a man and a woman.
  Earlier today I stood where you are now standing and I listened to 
some of the words that were used against this legislation. I wrote some 
of them down. And one of the words was ``hateful.'' And as I wrote that 
down, all I could think about is if you want a definition of hateful, 
look at the attacks that have been brought against the sponsor of this 
piece of legislation across the country for daring to bring it to the 
floor for debate. That defines hateful.
  And then they raised the word ``unimportant.'' And they list all of 
the other things that they think are important. And that frightens me, 
because they do not recognize the difference and the importance of the 
connection between strong marriages in this country and the strength of 
our Nation.
  And then they call it divisive. Divisive to dare to stand against 
activist judges who will try to redefine literally hundreds of years of 
historical sanctioning of the institution of marriage. And then they 
say it is intolerant.
  They couch themselves with love, and all they want to do is have 
love. Well, Mr. Speaker, suppose you have a teacher who loves her 13-
year-old student, and just says, all we want to do is love each other 
and be together. We would never think of sanctioning that. Suppose you 
have a situation where a husband came in and said I love three wives. 
Just let me love them. How is that harming society?
  I think, Mr. Speaker, you could use every argument you hear on this 
floor today against this legislation to justify both of those two 
situations. But, Mr. Speaker, I think one of the things that bothers me 
most is when we hear the argument that we shouldn't try because this 
legislation just won't pass.
  Well, Mr. Speaker, we try because we believe that values are still 
important in America. We try because we believe marriage between a man 
and a woman is a cornerstone of those values. We try

[[Page H5306]]

because we believe the only way to protect the rights of States to 
define marriage for themselves is to pass this amendment.
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand with those who support this 
legislation and those who understand that this historic relationship 
between a man and a woman is worth defending, even if we do not 
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
Gene Green) for the purpose of making a unanimous consent request.
  (Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.J. 
Res. 88.
  I believe that the institution of marriage should consist of one man 
and one woman and I voted for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, but I 
cannot support this bill.
  The Defense of Marriage Act has never been challenged in the Supreme 
Court and it seems like we are putting the cart before the horse.
  We should allow our system of checks and balances to work as it has 
for over 200 years. Our founding fathers created three branches of 
government to work independently, but equally.
  In Texas, we already have a law that states that the institution of 
marriage is between one man and one woman. We also have a law that 
states that Texas does not have to recognize marriages that were 
performed outside of the state of Texas.
  Even if other states decide to change their standards for issuing 
marriage licenses. It will not change how marriage licenses are issued 
in Texas.
  The Defense of Marriage Act supports our state laws. Marriage is a 
state issue and it should remain so. When my wife and I married 36 
years ago we went to our county courthouse, not our federal courthouse.
  We do not seek marriage licenses from the federal government.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
  Mr. CLEAVER. Mr. Speaker, in 1974, I was ordained as an elder in the 
United Methodist Church after having completed 3 years of seminary, 4 
years of undergraduate work. I have been pastoring for 32 years. As of 
today, I have never, ever been asked to perform a wedding between same-
sex partners. I do not even know of a minister who has ever been made 
that request.
  And so I am not sure how significant this is, except for the fact 
that I am not here to defend anything except the church. We have people 
sitting in the gallery and people looking at this broadcast all across 
America. And the chances are really high that almost 100 percent of 
them have marriage licenses signed by a member of the clergy, and not a 
Member of Congress.
  Marriage was ordained by God, and in all of the weddings the words 
are read, ``Marriage is an institution by God signifying the uniting of 
this man and this woman in holy matrimony''.
  And then we go on to say that, in my tradition, ``Christ adorned and 
beautified marriage when he performed his first miracle at the wedding 
in Cana of Galilee.

                              {time}  1300

  Marriage is sacred. It is holy. It is an institution created by the 
church. Now, the United States Congress is going to trespass on the 
property of the church?
  I am concerned that we have gone too far. Every judicatory or 
denomination in the world is debating this issue, and it should remain 
in that domain, not on the floor of Congress. I don't want Congress to 
approve or disapprove how we perform marriages in my church.
  I sat on the front row in December, and I thought about Exodus: For 6 
days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a 
sabbath of rest for the Lord. Whoever does any work on it must be put 
to death.
  As I thought about that, we were sitting here on a Sunday morning 
debating the defense bill.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I wanted to point out to my friend from 
Missouri that in order to become States in the United States of 
America, Arizona and Utah had to change their own State constitutions 
to recognize marriage as a union between one man and one woman in order 
to do away with polygamy.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from 
Colorado (Mr. Beauprez).
  Mr. BEAUPREZ. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman and thank him for 
bringing this amendment to the floor and managing the time. I also 
would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the leadership of my colleague 
from Colorado (Mrs. Musgrave) on this issue. She has been a true 
champion, not only a champion inside this Chamber, but a champion for 
the values that I think a vast majority of Americans hold dear. For 
that she has paid what has already been recognized as a significant 
personal price. Again, I applaud her and I certainly admire her 
character and her tenacity.
  Mr. Speaker, this debate seems to be framed by talking about what we 
are against. I think what we ought to be talking about, frankly, is 
what we are for. Too often in society, especially these days, it seems 
like we are against the very institutions that made this Nation great.
  I see above your head, Mr. Speaker, the words ``in God we trust,'' 
and directly opposite you over my left shoulder is the medallion of the 
very first law giver, Moses. We all know where those laws came from, 
the very hand of God.
  I think very often about the fact that we proudly profess that we are 
founded on Judeo-Christian principles. I think it is indisputable where 
those principles come from and what the origin of those principles is.
  I believe that in the very beginning He created us, yes, all equal. 
The distinguished minority leader mentioned that a little bit ago, that 
we celebrate the fact that we were all created equal by our Creator, 
equal but different, and for a purpose. He showed us that purpose in 
the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve. He showed us once again, and blessed 
that difference, at Cana, as my friend and colleague from Missouri just 
referenced, by Jesus performing his first miracle by blessing that 
wedding feast between a man and a woman.
  I think there is a reason why marriage has always been such a sacred 
institution. I believe some things, some definitions in our society are 
absolute. Up isn't down, dark isn't daylight, black isn't white, fish 
isn't fowl, and marriage, since the beginning of time, as close as I 
can tell, has been between a man and a woman. If it was, indeed, good 
enough for our Creator, and it was indeed our Creator's plan, that we 
were created different for an absolute divine purpose, I think we best 
not be messing with His plan today.
  It is important, I will disagree with my colleague from Missouri in 
this regard, it is very important that when a nation is, indeed, 
founded upon Judeo-Christian principles that we are willing to stand 
and define what we are for, lest we forget what we are about.
  I strongly encourage the adoption of this amendment.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished 
gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky).
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to the 
constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage. If this 
amendment were to pass, it would mean the first time in history that 
the Constitution has been amended to include discrimination. I believe 
in marriage as a stabilizing force in our society, as a nurturing 
environment for our children, as a public expression of the most 
profound love and devotion of a commitment between two people to take 
responsibility for one another, in a legal and a personal sense, in 
sickness and in health.
  The vast majority of marriages are, and, of course always will be, 
between one man and one woman. But the same virtues of couplehood apply 
to any loving adults.
  Surely the 27-year relationship of my dear friends Michael and Roger 
does not threaten my marriage in any way. The loving family that Ann 
and Jackie expanded when they adopted David, giving him two adoring 
parents, is a good thing, regardless what anyone may say to the 
contrary, although they are free to say it.
  But nothing in the Constitution should be established to exclude them 
from the rights that they deserve. There are so many pressing issues 
right now that are working, that undermine families.
  Same-sex couples embrace the positive values of families. Let's spend 

[[Page H5307]]

limited time here as lawmakers helping all American families, and not 
discriminating against any.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I would point out that if this amendment 
does, in fact, make marriage, well, discriminate, and the opponents 
want to make marriage more inclusive, then is it not also true that we 
should and will broaden the definition of marriage, so that as Mr. 
Forbes from Virginia pointed out it is not merely a matter of one same-
sex couple.
  But why are we tripping over the word ``couple''? Why can't marriage 
be three people or four people? Why can't it be a combination, if that 
is what we are talking about.
  I want to point that out to my friends, that this doesn't just end 
with being one definition or the other if you don't want to go with 
this definition.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from North Carolina 
(Ms. Foxx).
  Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, I want to say amen to everything my colleagues 
who have just spoken before me, Mr. Forbes and Mr. Beauprez, said. They 
made very eloquent arguments.
  Mr. Speaker, if Members of the House vote as their States have voted 
on this amendment, the amendment will pass. Forty-five States have 
defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. As a sociologist, I 
taught, and I believe, that marriage is the foundational institution of 
every culture. It is under attack by the courts. It needs to be 
defended in this way by defining it as the union of a man and a woman.
  If it is going to be defined otherwise, it must be done by the 
legislatures and not by the courts. Today we are going to vote on a 
constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and a 
woman. This is about who is going to determine the definition, whether 
it is the courts or the legislative bodies.
  The amendment is about how we are going to raise the next generation. 
How are they going to be raised? It is a fundamental issue for our 
families and for our future. It is an issue for the people. It is not 
an issue that the courts should resolve.
  Those of us who support this amendment are doing so in an effort to 
let the people decide. We are making progress in America on defining 
marriage as the union of a man and a woman and will not stop until it 
is defined and protected as that union. Marriage is about our future. I 
continue to be struck by the opponents of this amendment, who say it is 
an effort to promote discrimination. The amendment is about promoting 
our future, our families, about how we raise the next generation and 
about allowing a definition of marriage that is as old as the creation 
of human beings.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to support the Marriage Protection 
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee).
  Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his 
leadership. Of course, I stand in strong opposition to H.J. Res. 88.
  This amendment seeks to enshrine, and it does seek to enshrine, 
discrimination into our Constitution. As an African American woman, and 
as a person of faith, there is no way that I can support discriminating 
against anybody. The history of our Nation has been a long process of 
bringing people of different backgrounds together.
  This amendment would take everything that this Nation stands for as a 
beacon of hope, a land of opportunity, and a tolerant, democratic 
society and turn it all on its head. Government should not be in the 
business of discriminating against its people, pure and simple. 
Government should not get into the personal lives of individuals.
  We must reject this, and it is a hateful and discriminatory 
amendment. It takes an extraordinary step that previous amendments have 
not taken. It bars States from granting pretty much any legal 
partnership such as civil unions or domestic partnerships.
  Congress is supposed to work to promote a better life for all 
Americans. That means improving our Nation's education system, working 
to provide health care for the 47 million uninsured, ensuring that 
people have a roof over their heads.
  We must see this amendment for what it is. It is clearly election-
year pandering. It is an attempt to create a diversion from the real 
issues that this Congress should be dealing with.
  This is clear election year pandering. This is simply an attempt to 
create a diversion from the real issues this Congress should be dealing 
  It's also an amendment once again enshrouded in an attempt to cloud 
the public's image of same-gender couples. They want to fill everyone's 
head with images of gay couples marching into churches and demanding 
marriage equality. This has nothing, nothing at all to do with churches 
and marriage.
  The Republican Leadership wants to rile up the religious right with 
the idea that this has to do with an attempt to force religious 
institutions to sanctify same-sex couples.
  Same-sex couples merely want the same rights that many take for 
granted; hospital visitation rights, health care benefits, inheritance 
rights, and joint tax-filing. These all come with civil ceremonies, 
through a license granted by a local county or city, not through an 
order signed by a church or any religious institution. We must make 
clear, this is about equal rights.
  I urge my colleagues, and the public, to see this amendment for what 
it is really for. A mere political diversion tactic and an attempt to 
write hate into the Constitution.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I would invite the previous speaker, my 
friend, to watch one of the 527 ads that are being run against Mrs. 
Musgrave. If she wants to see hateful speech, and one of the most 
hideous hateful acts that I have witnessed on any Member of Congress, I 
would invite anybody who is talking about hate to watch the ads that 
are run against our colleague for sponsorship of this amendment.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina 
(Mr. Inglis).
  Mr. INGLIS of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for 
yielding. I will be voting for the amendment. I have got questions, 
though. Why now? Why this amendment? Why now?
  No court has ordered the State of South Carolina to recognize a 
Massachusetts marriage. In fact, it is all within any given State. If a 
court had ordered South Carolina to recognize a Massachusetts marriage, 
this amendment would not be failing today on the House floor, as we all 
know it will. It would be passing with a significant margin.
  I also have a question about why this amendment. Why not a federalism 
amendment? Why not an amendment that honors the 10th amendment to the 
Constitution that says that all powers not delegated to the Federal 
Government are reserved to the States?
  As it is, this amendment is not what it should be. It should be a 
federalism amendment. It should be an amendment that says States have 
the prerogative to define marriage within their boundaries. As it is, 
we are providing a Federal definition of marriage, or attempting to do 
so, in this amendment that will fail.
  I think it is also important to ask why this amendment, and to point 
out that no one should be under the misimpression that we are here 
mandating, let's say, a biblical definition of marriage. If we were, we 
would be directing the States only to grant divorces on the biblical 
basis of infidelity. But nobody is proposing such an amendment.
  Why? Because we have avoided the dangers of a theocracy. I agree with 
what my colleague from Missouri said earlier, Mr. Cleaver: this is the 
church's business. This is the synagogue's business. This is the 
business of the mosque to figure out what is marriage within their 
  Now, when a State gets involved, it is really just about children and 
the result of divorce. Why now? Why this amendment? But yet the 
question is simply brought up, so we vote for it.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee).
  (Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, let me say to my colleagues on 
the other side of the aisle, I do believe in the separation of church 
and State, as one asked the question that we should be talking about 
what we believe in.

                              {time}  1315

  I believe in the 10th amendment and its constitutional premise: ``The 
powers not delegated to the United States

[[Page H5308]]

by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved 
to the States respectively, or to the people.''
  My good friend who just spoke from South Carolina made a very valid 
point, that we are now tampering with constitutional privileges that we 
have yielded to the States, and more importantly, the Bill of Rights 
and the Constitution have made it very clear that it is a document of 
enhancement, of affirmation of rights.
  My concern is that we are now standing on the floor of this sacred 
body denying rights to human beings and Americans. We are denying the 
rights, the privacy rights, civil liberties rights. We are even going 
so far as to deny visitation rights at hospitals and the ability to 
mourn your loved one.
  Might I say that this past week a dear, beloved friend of mine 
mourned his partner, mourned his partner, and all of the community came 
to acknowledge the leadership of his partner. Is his grief or his loss 
to be degraded on this floor, to be denied, to ask the question whether 
it was not a special and sacred relationship?
  So I ask my colleagues, as we corrected the enslavement of those of 
us who came here first in the bottom of the belly of a slave boat with 
the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment, affirmation of rights, creating 
rights, not denying rights, I will not stand here on the floor today 
and accept the responsibility of denying rights. Might I say, the 
Senate, the other body, has already spoken. They could not get a simple 
majority. Why? It is wrong to deny rights to Americans.
  I will not allow the flag to be desecrated by this amendment. Defeat 
this constitutional offering and bring back freedom to America.
   Mr. Speaker, this resolution is the symbol of the misplaced 
priorities of the Republican leadership in the House. It is clear that 
this amendment is being addressed not for the policy involved but 
simply for floor debate. We have considered this issue in Congress 
before, and doing so again is simply a waste of taxpayers' money. This 
debate is ill-advised and will not help the American people. Issues we 
could be addressing here today are: the global war on terrorism we are 
fighting, from which we have been distracted by the war in Iraq, and a 
war that has resulted in a devastating toll on American lives and our 
budget; the crisis in the Middle East; increasing gas prices; a 
ballooning budget deficit of over $5 trillion that is choking our 
economy and crucial social service programs; and a health care system 
that is failing the millions of Americans that remain uninsured.
  Why are we wasting time on the House floor, in our legislative 
offices and with our valuable staff to handle this imprudent amendment?
  I oppose this bill because, for the first time in America's rich and 
long democratic history, the Constitution will be used not as a beacon 
of liberation but an instrument of deprivation. On the 230-year 
anniversary of our Constitution, let us not desecrate it by enacting 
this act. H.J. Res. 88, the ``Marriage Protection Amendment,'' proposes 
to impose the opinion of a minority of the members of this Congress on 
the lives of all Americans on matters that concern their personal 
lives, their family relations, and their very identity.

                            tenth amendment

  The 10th Amendment states: ``The powers not delegated to the United 
States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are 
reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.'' The individual 
states need to have the ability to differ with the Federal Government 
in an area that relates to what goes on in the homes of individuals.

                      equal protection of the law

  Gay and lesbian Americans are American citizens who pay taxes and 
protect our communities as fire fighters, police officers, and by 
serving in the military, and therefore desire the same rights and 
protections as other Americans.
  Denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry amounts to a 
federal taking--legal rights in pensions, health insurance, hospital 
visitations, and inheritance that other long-term committed couples 
enjoy. It should never be our job to restrict the rights of the 
American people--only to extend them. This amendment would write 
discrimination into our Constitution.
  As Members of Congress with the authorities vested in us as a body, 
we have a responsibility to deal with issues that need attention. There 
is no emergent need relating to individual well-being, national 
security, or any other government interest that warrants a 
constitutional amendment for this purpose. This is a waste of the 
taxpayers' dollars. This Amendment takes away existing legal 
protections, under state and local laws, for committed, long-term 
couples, such as hospital visitation rights, inheritance rights, 
pension benefits, and health insurance coverage among others.

  Under current law, marriage is a decision of the state. As marriage 
was initially tied to property rights, this has historically always 
been a local issue. The state gives us a marriage license, determines a 
couples' tax bracket and authorizes its divorce. It does not need 
additional control over the situation. Religious conceptions of 
marriage are sacrosanct and should remain so, but how a state decides 
to dole out hospital visitation rights or insurance benefits should be 
a matter of state law. As legal relationships change, laws adapt 
  Matters of great importance, such as marriage, need to reflect the 
will of the people and be resolved within the democratic process. By 
having Congress give the states restrictions initially, we are denying 
them the chance to let their constituents decide what is best for them. 
We cannot use the Constitution as a bullhorn to dictate social policy 
from Washington.
  Furthermore, any law determining who may or may not marry denies 
religious institutions the right to decide this amongst themselves and 
is therefore a denial of the religious freedoms that we treasure so 
  Leading civil rights and religious organizations across the Nation 
have expressed their opposition to this amendment. Among them are: the 
Anti-Defamation League; the Alliance of Baptists; the American Civil 
Liberties Union; the League of Women Voters of the United States; the 
American Jewish Committee; the NAACP; and many more.
  I have here in my hand a letter to Representatives Hastert and 
Pelosi, signed by over 2,500 members of the clergy in our Nation. They 
come from different faiths and backgrounds, and may disagree on many 
things, but they all oppose this amendment.
  This proposed amendment will forever write discrimination into the 
U.S. Constitution rather than focusing on the crucial problems and 
challenges that affect the lives of all of us. It is nothing more than 
a political distraction for the country to divert attention from the 
overabundance of real problems and our tremendous lack of effective 

                          violation of privacy

  Our civil liberties are based upon the fundamental premise that each 
individual has a right to privacy, to be free from governmental 
interference in the most personal, private areas of one's life. 
Deciding when and whether to have children is one of those areas. 
Marriage is another.
  In 1965 the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that a 
married couple had the right to use birth control. In doing so, the 
Court recognized a ``zone of privacy'' implicit in various provisions 
of the Constitution. Most recently, the Supreme Court struck down a law 
criminalizing sex between same-sex couples in Lawrence v. Texas based 
upon these same principles.
  Indeed, Lawrence relied principally on Griswold, Eisenstadt and Roe 
v. Wade. Collectively, these decisions recognize the fundamental 
principle that the Constitution protects individuals' decisions about 
marriage, procreation, contraception and family relationships. The 
issues are inextricably linked--in law as well as policy.

            there is no valid need to amend the constitution

  Amending the Constitution is a radical act that should only be 
undertaken to address great public-policy needs. Since the adoption of 
the Bill of Rights, in 1791, the Constitution has been amended only 17 
times. Moreover, the Constitution should be amended only to protect and 
expand, not limit, individual freedoms. By contrast, the Marriage 
Protection Amendment is an attempt to restrict liberties, and on a 
discriminatory basis.

                 defense of marriage act already exists

  The Defense of Marriage Act, which President Bill Clinton signed into 
law in 1996, already exists and recognizes marriage as a heterosexual 
union for purposes of federal law only. DOMA was designed to provide 
individual states individual autonomy in deciding how to recognize 
marriage and other unions within their borders. This allowed 
legislators the latitude to decide how to deal with marriage rights 
themselves, while simultaneously stating that no state could force 
another to recognize marriage of same sex couples. For those who want 
to take a stance on marriage alone, DOMA should quell their fears. We 
do not need additional, far reaching legislation.

             mpa will not change views on same sex marriage

  The Federal government cannot use its influence to change people's 
minds about a social issue. It did not work in the 1920s when the 18th 
amendment declared alcohol to be illegal and it did not work in the 
1960s when interracial marriage was still considered a crime. This 
amendment will not change the lives of those who want to live as a 
married couple; all it will do is take away their license to do so.

                   this will clog the judicial system

  The MPA is a lawyer's dream and a judge's nightmare. The number of 
cases that will flood

[[Page H5309]]

the system will be outlandish. Does the MPA retroactively invalidate 
all marriages that have occurred in the interim? If a spouse has died, 
how does the retroactive annulment effect custody of the children, or 
property rights? There will be a litany of case law brought out to deal 
with these questions, and our judicial system will be filled with cases 
trying to sort out the lasting effects of the MPA.

                         this is likely to fail

  Amending the constitution is not a simple thing, and should be done 
with care and caution over a longer period of time. Our haste in this 
matter will be the tragic flaw of the MPA's journey. Recent polls show 
that a majority of people who oppose gay marriage also oppose amending 
the constitution to ban them. In addition, this amendment has already 
been considered in the Senate and was rejected.

                       MPA does not help families

  Many of my colleagues are arguing that the MPA is here to protect the 
family. Spending time and resources to amend the constitution to 
prevent gay marriages is not helping a single family. Divorce, abuse, 
unwed motherhood, and unemployment are doing far more harm to millions 
of families everywhere. To those who are taking up the cause to protect 
American families, perhaps your attention could be focused elsewhere on 
the problems which are truly plaguing them.
  The vocal proponents of the MPA show their strong and willful hatred 
of the gay and lesbian community. This egregious amendment would 
enshrine discrimination against a specific group of citizens and 
intolerance of specific religious beliefs into our Nation's most sacred 
document. The fight for equality is uniquely woven into our Nation's 
history. From the suffrage movement, to the civil rights movement, to 
the gay rights movement, minorities in this country have worked 
tirelessly to achieve the equal rights guaranteed to all.

           the legal incident of marriage warrants a license

  Marriage provides a multitude of critical protections to same sex 
couples and their children. These legal incidents include rights 
related to: group insurance; victim's compensation; worker's 
compensation; durable powers of attorney; family leave benefits; and a 
joint tax return.
  These benefits are necessary for families to function. If 
``marriage'' is truly a license that extends rights, it should not be 
denied to one group of people--otherwise, this body will be guilty of 
legislating in violation of the Equal Protections Clause of the 
  Mr. Speaker, again, I urge my colleagues to defeat this resolution.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Daniel E. Lungren).
  Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, if I could just 
respond to the question of federalism.
  There is a mistake on this floor when people are talking about this 
being a violation of federalism. Federalism, properly understood, is a 
check on the power of the Federal Government by the State government 
and vice versa.
  The reason why the federalism issue does not apply here is because 
marriage and the family is likewise an institution, although a private 
one, which provides a countervailing source of power vis-a-vis the 
government, and there are lot of arguments on the floor. It is too bad 
we do not have a lot more time to talk about it.
  The simple question, though, is are we going to fundamentally change 
the definition of marriage, understood in this country since its 
founding, and allow a preferential status for marriage properly 
understood? That is what we are really talking about. It is not 
discrimination. It is the question of whether you allow the traditional 
form of marriage to be given preferential status.
  Those that argue against this amendment do not want that to be the 
case anymore. They are the ones that are overturning history and 
overturning the way things have been done for several hundred years in 
this country and thousands of years in this culture.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Federalism is the division of power between the Federal Government 
and the States. Family law, marriage, divorce have always been a matter 
for the States. This amendment attempts to seize it for the Federal 
Government. That is a major change in federalism, whatever the 
gentleman from California may say.
  It is most certainly an issue of federalism because the Federal 
Government has never before gotten into the definition of marriage or 
divorce or any of those things. It has always been left to the States 
until this amendment.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the distinguished gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Israel).
  Mr. ISRAEL. I thank my friend from New York, and Mr. Speaker, I rise 
to oppose this resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, this is not the grave crisis that a constitutional 
amendment demands. I will tell you what the grave crises are that we 
should be spending our time on.
  North Korea tested a ballistic missile last week. We are still 
waiting for a strategy for success in Iraq. Gas prices are 
skyrocketing. War is erupting in the Middle East. And Congress wants 
the American people to believe that same-sex marriages are the gravest 
threat to their security.
  We need to be focusing on issues of true security and safety for the 
American people and not on rhetorical devices that have no substantive 
meaning, because the other body already defeated it.
  Mr. Speaker, I spent all morning this morning at the National Defense 
University participating in a military exercise with respect to Iran's 
development of nuclear weapons. I spent my time trying to figure out 
how we are going to protect the American people from that threat, and 
then I come to the floor of the House, and we waste time debating how 
we are going to protect the American people from same-sex marriages 
when we cannot even amend the Constitution in this session of Congress.
  If we spent more time trying to hunt down Osama bin Laden and less 
time trying to hunt down people in marriages that we find 
objectionable, we would all be safer.
  Now, I have a deep respect for my colleagues on the other side of the 
aisle and on the other side of this issue, but I would suggest that the 
American people want us focused on real security and real safety.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, if I can ask the gentleman from New York, 
I have one more speaker. Then we are ready to close.
  Mr. NADLER. I will yield to Ms. Jackson-Lee for a unanimous consent 
request, and then you have your speaker, and I will close for my side 
and you close for yours. Let me ask how much time we have left at this 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Gillmor). The gentleman from New York 
(Mr. Nadler) has 3 minutes remaining. The gentleman from Georgia (Mr. 
Kingston) has 4\1/4\ minutes remaining.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. 
Jackson-Lee) for a unanimous consent request.
  (Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I insert into the Record at 
this point the Clergy for Fairness, Religious Leaders Opposed to the 
Federal Marriage Amendment, that shows the standing of the religious 
community of America. It is entitled: ``We, the People.''

                                          Clergy for Fairness,

                                     Washington, DC, July 7, 2006.
     Rep. J. Dennis Hastert,
     Speaker of the House,
     Washington, DC.
     Rep Nancy Pelosi,
     House Minority Leader,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Rep. Hastert and Rep. Pelosi: As clergy from a broad 
     spectrum of religious traditions we hold diverse views 
     regarding marriage. However, we are united in our opposition 
     to amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage.
       The Marriage Protection Amendment raises alarming 
     constitutional concerns. We do not favor using the 
     constitutional amendment process to resolve the divisive 
     issues of the moment. Loading down the Constitution with such 
     amendments weakens the enormous influence it holds as the key 
     document that binds our nation together.
       We are concerned that the Marriage Protection Amendment 
     would mark the first time in history that an amendment to the 
     Constitution would restrict the civil rights of an entire 
     group of Americans. Misusing our nation's most cherished 
     document for this purpose would tarnish our proud tradition 
     of expanding citizens' rights by Constitutional amendment, a 
     tradition long supported by America's faith communities. 
     These concerns alone merit rejection of the Marriage 
     Protection Amendment.
       We also share a serious concern that the proposed Marriage 
     Protection Amendment would infringe on religious liberty.
       Thoughtful people of faith can and do disagree on the issue 
     of marriage. America's many religious traditions reflect this 
     diversity of opinion, as do we who sign this letter.

[[Page H5310]]

     But we respect the right of each religious group to decide, 
     based on its own religious teachings, whether or not to 
     sanction marriage of same-sex couples. It is surely not the 
     federal government's role to prefer one religious definition 
     of marriage over another, much less to codify such a 
     preference in the Constitution. To the contrary: the great 
     contribution of our Constitution is to ensure religious 
     liberty for all.
       Some argue that a constitutional amendment is necessary to 
     ensure that clergy and faith groups will never be forced to 
     recognize marriages of same-sex couples against their will. 
     This argument is unfounded. Such coercion is already 
     expressly forbidden by the First Amendment's 
     ``establishment'' clause, its guarantee of the right to 
     ``free exercise'' of religion, and the Supreme Court's 
     doctrine of religious autonomy that is rooted in both 
     religion clauses. These, and only these, are all the 
     protection of religious autonomy--and of religious 
     marriage--our nation needs.
       Our nation's founders adopted the First Amendment precisely 
     because they understood the dangers of allowing government to 
     have control over religious doctrine and decisions. It is 
     this commitment to religious freedom that has allowed 
     religious practice and pluralism to flourish in America as 
     nowhere else. If this freedom is to be maintained, we must 
     respect the rights of faith communities to apply their own 
     religious teachings and values to the issue of same-sex 
     relationships. It is surely not the business of politicians 
     to assert control over the doctrine and practice of our faith 
       The Marriage Protection Amendment would dignify 
     discrimination and undermine religious liberty. America's 
     religious communities do not support this amendment. As 
     leaders of these communities, we urge you to vote against any 
     attempt to pass this Amendment.
       Rev. Richard K. Heacock, Jr., United Methodist, Fairbanks, 
       Rev. Janice A. Hotze, Episcopal, St. Michael and All 
     Angels, Haines, AK.
       Rev. Dale Kelley, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 
     Unalaska, AK.
       Rev. Robert Thomas, Jr., Episcopal, St. Peter's, Seward, 
       Rev. Diana Jordan Allende, Unitarian Universalist, Auburn 
     UU Fellowship, Auburn, AL.
       Rabbi Jeffrey Ballon, Jewish, Bnai Shalom, Huntsville, AL.
       The Rev. James Creasy, Episcopal, Opelika, AL.
       Rev. Peter M. Horn, Episcopal, Vestavia Hills, AL.
       Mr. Steven T. Karnes, Jewish, Kingdom Of Yahwey Assembly, 
     Phenix City, AL.
       Rev. Ruth B. LaMonte, Episcopal, Trinity Church, 
     Birmingham, AL.
       Rev. Lynette Lanphere, Episcopalian, Leeds, AL.
       Rev. Elizabeth L. O'Neill, Presbyterian, Immanuel PCUSA, 
     Montgomery, AL.
       Rev. Marjorie F. Ragona, Metropolitan Community Churches, 
     Bethel, Birmingham, AL.
       Rev. Mary C. Robert, Episcopal, All Saints, Mobile, AL.
       Rev. Alice I. Syltie, Unitarian Universalist, UU Church of 
     Huntsville Alabama, Huntsville, AL.
       Rev. Jack Zylman, Unitarian Universalist Church of 
     Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.
       Pastor Robert Anderson, Lutheran, Hot Springs Village, AR.
       Rev. Alma T. Beck, Episcopal, St. Michael's Episcopal 
     Church, Little Rock, AR.
       Rev. Sharon M. Coote, Christian Church (Disciples of 
     Christ), Pulaski Heights Christian Church, Little Rock, AR.
       Rev. Stephen J. Copley, Mr. United Methodist Church, North 
     Little Rock, AR.
       Rev. Gerald G. Crawford, II, Episcopal, St. Mark's, 
     Crossett, AR.
       Rev. Marc Fredette, Unitarian Universalist, Unitarian 
     Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville, Fayetteville, AR.
       Rev. Dr. Raymond Hearn, Presbyterian, Hot Springs Village, 
       Rev. Robert Klein, Unitarian Universalist, Unitarian 
     Universalist Church of Little Rock, Little Rock, AR.
       Rabbi Eugene H. Levy, Jewish, B'nai Israel, Little Rock, 
       Rev. Samuel C. Loudenslager, Episcopalian, St. Michael's 
     Episcopal Church, Bigelow, AR.
       Rev. Betty Grace McCollum, Unitarian Universalist, Emerson, 
       Rev. Phillip R. Plunkett, Episcopal, Little Rock, AR.
       Rev. Donna L. Rountree, Christian Church (Disciples of 
     Christ), Scott, AR.
       Rev. Anne Russ, PCUSA, Grace Presbyterian, Little Rock, AR.
       Rev. Dan R. Thornhill, Christian Church (Disciples of 
     Christ), Parkview Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 
     Little Rock, AR.
       Rev. Kenneth Reuel Ahlstrand, Evangelical Lutheran Church 
     in America, Beautiful Savior, Oro Valley, AZ.
       Rev. Rosemary G. Anderson, United Methodist, Apache 
     Junction, AZ.
       The Rev. Susan Anderson-Smith, Episcopal, St. Philip's In 
     the Hills, Tucson, AZ.
       Rev. Leslie S. Argueta-Vogel, Presbyterian (USA), Phoenix, 
       Rev. Curtis A. Beardsley, Independant Catholic, Reyna del 
     Tepeya, Apostolic Catholic Church of Antioch, Phoenix, AZ.
       Rev. Franklyn Bergen, Episcopalian, St.Andrew's Tucson, AZ, 
     Tucson, AZ.
       Rabbi Alan Berlin, Jewish, Scottsdale, AZ.
       Rev. Andre R. Boulanger, MA, STL, Roman Catholic, Phoenix, 
       Rev. Larry David Bridge, Christian Church (Disciples of 
     Christ) & United Church of Christ, Scottsdale Congregational 
     United Church of Christ, Scottsdale, AZ.
       Rabbi Mari Chernow, Jewish, Temple Chai, Phoenix, AZ.
       Rev. Rula Colvin, Methodist, Gilbert, AZ.
       Rev. James Dew, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 
     Santa Cruz Lutheran Church, Tucson, AZ.
       Rev. Barbara D. Doerrer-Peacock, United Church of Christ, 
     South Mountain Community Church, Tempe, AZ.
       Rev. Richard Doerrer-Peacock, United Church of Christ, 
     South Mountain Community Church, Tempe, AZ.
       Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes, United Church of Christ, Scottsdale 
     Congregational United Church of Christ, Scottsdale, AZ.
       Rev. Barbara M. Farwell, Presbyterian, Serving as chaplain 
     in lifecare community, Sun City, AZ.
       Rev. Mary S. Harris, Presbyterian, Tucson, AZ.
       The Rev. Robert Harvey, Episcopal, Tucson, AZ.
       Rev. William H. Jacobs, Disciples of Christ, First 
     Christian Church of Mesa, AZ, Tempe, AZ.
       Rev. Dawn E. Keller, ELCA, Tucson, AZ.
       Rev. Steve J. Keplinger, Episcopalian, St. David's, Page, 
       Rev. Delores J. Kropf, Ecumenical Catholic, St. Mihael's 
     Ecumenical Catholic Church, Tucson, AZ.
       Fr. Gordon K. McBride, Episcopal, Grace St. Paul's, Tucson, 
       Rev. Gary N. McCluskey, Lutheran (ELCA), University 
     Lutheran, Tempe, AZ.
       Rev. Marc E. McDonald, United Methodist, Hope UMC, Bullhead 
     City, AZ.
       Fr. Brian H. O. A. McHugh, Episcopal, Coolidge, AZ.
       Rev. Lee J. Milligan, United Church of Christ, Church of 
     the Painted Hills, Tucson, AZ.
       Rev. Kimberly Murman, Presbyterian Church (USA), Mesa, AZ.
       Rev. Briget Nicholson, United Church of Christ, First, 
     Tucson, AZ.
       Rev. James Parkhurst, United Methodist, Phoenix, AZ.
       Rev. David W. Ragan, United Church of Christ, Phoenix, AZ.
       Rev. Rod Richards, Unitarian Universalist, UU Church of SE 
     Arizona, Bisbee, AZ.
       Rev. Ann Rogers-Witte, United Church of Christ, Shadow Rock 
     UCC, Phoenix, AZ.
       Rev. Liana Rowe, UCC, Phoenix, AZ.
       Rev. Ron Rude, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 
     Tucson, AZ.
       Rev. Anne Sawyer, Episcopal, St. Andrew's, Tucson, AZ.
       Rev. Kelli M. Shepard, Lutheran, Faith Lutheran, Tempe, AZ.
       Rev. Gerry Straatemeier, MSW, Religious Science, Tucson, 
       Rev. James Strader, Episcopal, University of Arizona 
     Episcopal Campus Ministry, Tucson, AZ.
       Rabbi Andrew Straus, Jewish, Temple Emanuel of Tempe, 
     Tempe, AZ.
       Rev. Charlotte Strayhorne, Independent, Casa de Cristo 
     Evangelical Church, Phoenix, AZ.
       Rabbi Lisa Tzur, Jewish, Temple Gan Elohim, Scottsdale, AZ.
       Rev. Dr. Stephen Wayles, United Church of Christ, 1st 
     Congregational UCC, Phoenix, AZ, Phoenix, AZ.
       Rev. Fletch Wideman, United Church of Christ, Shadow Rock 
     UCC, Glendale, AZ.
       Rev. Susan K. Wintz, MDiv, BCC, Presbyterian Church (USA), 
     Mesa, AZ.
       Deborah J. Davis, Jewish, Humanistic Jewish Congregation, 
     San Diego, CA.
       Rev. Luke Adams, Independent Catholic Churches 
     International, Order of St. Luke the Healer, Oakland, CA.
       Rev. Joseph M. Amico, United Church of Christ, Sunland, CA.
       Rev. John Anderson, Presbyterian, San Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Charlotte L. Asher, United Church of Christ, Redwood 
     City, Redwood City, CA.
       Rev. Joy Atkinson, Unitarian Universalist, Berkeley, CA.
       Susan J. Averbach, Jewish Humanist, Kol Hadash, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Fr. Michael A. Backlund, PhD, The Episcopal Church, St. 
     Paul's Church, Sacramento, Angels Camp, CA.
       Rev. Connie Zekas Bailey, RSI International, Vista, San 
     Marcos, CA.
       Rev. Keith G. Banwart, Jr., Evangelical Lutheran Church in 
     America, St. Matthew's Church, Glendale, CA.
       Rev. Erwin C. Barron, PCUSA, Old First Presbyterian Church, 
     San Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Hank Bates, Independent Religious Science, Palm 
     Springs, CA.
       Rabbi Haim Beliak, Jewish, Beth Shalom of Whittier, Los 
     Angeles, CA.
       Fr. John A. Bell, New Church Inclusive Anglican Reform, St. 
     Savior--San Francisco, Oakland, CA.
       Rabbi Elissa Ben-Naim, Reform Jewish, Los Angeles, CA.
       Rev. David L. Bennett, United Methodist, Central United 
     Methodist, Stockton, CA.
       Fr. William S. Bennett, OHC, Episcopal, Santa Barbara, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Gaye G. Benson, United Methodist, El Sobrante, CA, 
     Richmond, CA.
       Rev. Susan Bergmans, Episcopal, San Pablo, CA.
       Rabbi Michael Berk, Reform Jewish, San Francisco, CA.
       Rabbi Linda Bertenthal, Jewish, Union for Reform Judaism, 
     Los Angeles, CA.
       Fr. Robert L. Bettinger, PHD, Episcopalian, San Diego, CA.
       Rev. Elizabeth A. Brick, United Methodist, St. Andrew's 
     United Methodist Church, Sacramento, Sacramento, CA.

[[Page H5311]]

       Rev. David Brickman, Interfaith Temple, Hollywood, CA.
       Rabbi Rick Brody, Jewish, Temple Ami Shalom, Los Angeles, 
       Rev. Mary Sue Brookshire, Baptist/UCC, UCC La Mesa, La 
     Mesa, CA.
       Rev. Clark. M. Brown, Lutheran (ELCA), St. Timothy 
     Lutheran, Monterey, CA.
       Rabbi Jeffrey Brown, Reform Judaism, Temple Solel, Cardiff, 
       Ms. Eileen O. Brownell, Religious Science, Chico, Chico, CA 
       Rev. Richard E. Bruner, United Methodist, Claremont UMC, 
     Hesperia, CA.
       Paul A. Buch, Jewish, Temple Beth Israel, Pomona, CA.
       Rev. Donna Byrns, Church of Truth, Pasadena, CA.
       Rev. Jolene J. Cadenbach, United Church of Christ, Arcadia 
     Congregational, Arcadia, CA.
       Rev. Anite J. Cadonau-Huseby, Christian Church (Disciples 
     of Christ), Danville, CA.
       Br. Richard Jonathan Cardarelli, SSF, Anglican, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Helen Carroll, Unitarian Universalist, Atascadero, CA.
       Rev. Jan Chase, Unity, Unity of Pomona, Pomona, CA.
       Rev. Marilyn Chilcote, Presbyterian, First Presbyterian, 
     Oakland Oakland, CA.
       Rev. Kelly Dahlgren Childress, United Church of Christ, 
     Oakland, CA.
       Rev. Abbot Neil V. Christensen, c.s.e.f., Th.D., Catholic, 
     Community of Sts. Elizabeth of Hungary & Farancis de Sales, 
     Interdenominational, Sacramento, CA.
       Rev. Jan Christian, Unitarian Universalist, UU Church of 
     Ventura, Ventura, CA.
       Rev. Maureen Christopher, Religious Science, Hospice 
     Chaplain, Oxnard, CA.
       Rev. William M. Clyma, III, New Church-Inclusive Anglican 
     Reform, Church of St. Savior, San Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Kenneth W. Collier, PhD, Unitarian Universalist, 
     Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA.
       Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, Jewish, Beth Shir Sholom, Santa 
     Monica, CA.
       Rev. Catherine Costas, Episcopalian, Good Shepherd 
     Episcopal Church, Mountain View, CA.
       Rev. Lyn Cox, Unitarian Universaiist, UU Society of 
     Sacramento, Sacramento, CA.
       Rev. Stuart P. Coxhead, Jr., Episcopal, Burlingame, CA.
       Rev. Susan H. Craig, Presbyterian Church (USA), Pasadena, 
       Fr. Norman L. Cram, Episcopal, Sonoma, CA.
       Rev. Robert Warren Cromey, Episcopalian, Trinity, SF, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Sandra R. Decker, Interfaith, Kensington, CA.
       Rev. Nancy S. DeNero, UCC, Mount Hollywood Congregational 
     UCC, Pasadena, CA.
       Rev. Kristi L. Denham, United Church of Christ, 
     Congregational Church of Belmont, San Mateo, CA.
       Rabbi Lavey Derby, Jewish, Kol Shofar, Mill Valley, CA.
       Rev. Brian K. Dixon, Alliance of Baptists, Dolores Street 
     Baptist Church, San Francisco. CA.
       Rabbi Joel C. Dobin, D.D., Reform, Walnut Creek, CA.
       Rev. James Dollins, United Methodist, San Dieguito UMC, 
     Vista, CA.
       Rev. Richard F. Drasen, Religious Science, Palm Springs 
     Church for Today, Palm Springs, CA.
       Rev. Michael G. Dresbach, Episcopal, San Cristbal, Panama, 
     San Jose, CA.
       Rev. Doris L. Dunn, United Church of Christ, Citrus 
     Heights, CA.
       Rev. Dale K. Edmondson, American Baptist, San Leandro, CA.
       Br. Kenneth Ehrnman, EACA, Laguna Woods, CA.
       Rev. Michael Ellard, Metropolian Community Churches, MCC 
     San Jose, San Jose, CA.
       Rev. Brian Elster, Evangelical Lutheran (ELCA), Lutheran 
     Church of Our Redeemer, Oxnard, CA.
       Rev. Richard K. Ernst, United Methodist, Loomis, CA.
       Rev. Alejandro Escoto, MCCLA's Latino Congregation, West 
     Hollywood, CA.
       Rev. Stefanie Etzbach-Dale, Unitarian Universalist, 
     Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kern County, 
     Bakersfield, CA, Santa Monica, CA.
       Rev. Martha Fahncke, Christian, Temple City, CA.
       Rev. John Fanestil, United Methodist, La Mesa, CA.
       Rev. Carol C. Faust, Protestant--Universal Life, Oakdale, 
       Rev. Robert H. Fernandez, Presbyterian (USA), San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, Unitarian Universalist, 
     Oakland, CA.
       Rev. Marylee Fithian, United Methodist, Guerneville, CA.
       Rabbi Joel R. Fleekop, Jewish, Shir Hadash, Los Gatos, CA.
       Msr. Carlos A. Florido, OSF, Orthodox Catholic, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. John C. Forney, Episcopal, Progressive Christians 
     Uniting, Chino, CA.
       Rev. Ernest M. Fowler, United Church of Christ, 1st 
     Congregational Church, Long Beach, CA, Laguna Woods, CA.
       Rev. Jerry Fox, United Methodist, San Jose, CA.
       Rabbi Karen L. Fox, Jewish, Los Angeles, CA.
       Rev. David French, United Methodist, Temecula, CA.
       Rev. Mary M. Gaines, Episcopal, St. James, SF, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Bruce R. Gililland, Alliance of Christian Churches, 
     Sunnyvale, CA.
       Rev. Deborah Beach Giordano, Independent Methodist, 
     inklings, Castro Valley, CA.
       Rabbi Eva Goldfinger, Humanistic Judaism, Adat Chaverim 
     Valley Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, Valley Glen, CA.
       Rabbi Evan Goodman, Jewish, Congregation Beth Israel-Judea, 
     San Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Thomas H. Griffith, United Methodist, Woodland Hills 
     United Methodist Church, Woodland Hills, CA.
       Rev. Anthony Guillen, Episcopal, Ventura, CA.
       Rev. Caroline J. Hall, Episcopalian, St Benedicts Los Osos, 
     Los Osos, CA.
       Rev. Jim Hamilton, United Methodist, Redondo Beach, CA.
       Dr. Frank S. Hamilton, Presbyterian Church (USA), Santa 
     Rosa, CA.
       Rev. Sally Hamini, Unitarian Universalist, UU Church of 
     Buffalo, Berkeley, CA.
       Rev. M. Elisabet Hannon, United Church of Christ, Wesley 
     United Methodist Church, Fresno, CA.
       Rev. Pharis Harvey, United Methodist, Corralitos, CA.
       Dr. Kathy Hearn, United Church of Religious Science, La 
     Jolla, CA.
       Rev. Patricia D. Hendrickson, Episcopal Thousand Oaks, CA.
       Rev. Carol C. Hilton, Unitarian Universalist, Palomar U.U. 
     Fellowship, Vista, CA, Oceanside, CA.
       Rev. Daniel M. Hooper, Evangelical Lutheran, Hollywood 
     Lutheran Church, Los Angeles, CA.
       Rev. H. James Hopkins, American Baptist, Lakeshore Avenue 
     Baptist Church, Oakland, CA.
       Rev. Ricky Hoyt, Unitarian Universalist, Santa Clarita, Los 
     Angeles, CA.
       Rev. Thomas B. Hubbard, Episcopal, Claremont, CA.
       Rev. Joan G. Huff, Presbyterian Church (USA), 7th Avenue 
     Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Bill Hutchinson, United Church of Christ, Sonoma, CA.
       Rev. Scott T. Imler, United Methodist Church, Crescent 
     Heights UMC, West Hollywood, CA.
       Rev. Rebecca Irelan, United Methodist, Novato UMC, Novato, 
       Rev. Steve C. Islander, United Methodist, Estero Bay UMC, 
     Atascadero, CA.
       Rabbi Steven Jacobs, Jewish, Woodland Hills, CA.
       Rev. Mark J. Jaufmann, Ecumenical Catholic, St. Andrew & 
     St. Paul Ecumenical Catholic, Community, Woodland Hills, CA.
       Rev. Bryan Jessup, Unitarian Universalist, Fresno 
     California, Fresno, CA.
       Rev. Beth A. Johnson, Unitarian Universalist, Palomar 
     Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Vista, CA.
       Rev. Jay E. Johnson, PhD, Episcopal, Church of the Good 
     Shepherd, Berkeley, Richmond, CA.
       Rev. Kevin A. Johnson, UCC and Methodist, Bloom in the 
     Desert Ministries, Palm Springs, CA.
       Rev. Allan B. Jones, United Methodist, Christ Church United 
     Methodist, Santa Rosa, CA.
       Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones, Unitarian Universalist, First 
     Unitarian Church of San Jose, San Jose, CA.
       Rev. Robert Angus Jones, Methodist, Oakland, CA.
       Rev. Sally J. Juarez, PCUSA, Oakland, CA.
       Rabbi Yoel Kahn, Jewish, JCCSF, San Francisco, CA,
       Rev. Sheila M. Kane, United Methodist, Riverside, CA.
       Evan Kent, Jewish, Temple Isaiah, Los Angeles, CA.
       Rev. David L. Klingensmith, United Church of Christ, 
     Fresno, CA.
       Rev. Patricia L. Klink, Religious Science, Fillmore Church 
     of Religious Science, Fillmore, CA.
       Rev. Peter D. Krey, PhD., E.L.C.A., Christ Lutheran, 
     Albany, CA
       Rabbi Brett Krichiver, Jewish, Stephen S. Wise Temple, Los 
     Angeles, CA.
       Rev. Kathleen F. La Point-Collup, United Methodist, Elk 
     Grove UMC, Elk Grove, CA.
       Rev. Peter Laarman, United Church of Christ, Los Angeles, 
       Rabbi Gail Labovitz, Jewish-Conservative, University of 
     Judaism, Los Angeles, CA.
       Rabbi Howard Laibson, Jewish, Seal Beach, CA.
       Rev. Darcey Laine, Unitarian Universalist, Unitarian 
     Universalist Church of Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA.
       Rev. Jeffrey P. Lambkin, Sr., Unitarian Universalist, 
     Unitarian Universalist Church in Idaho Falls, Richmond, CA.
       Rev. Scott Landis, United Church of Christ, Mission Hills, 
     San Diego, CA.
       Rev. Joseph A. Lane, Episcopal, Good Shepherd Episcopal 
     Church, Belmont, CA.
       Rev. Peter R Lawson, Episcopalian, St. James', San 
     Francisco, Valley Ford, CA.
       Rabbi Steven Z. Leder, Jewish, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 
     Los Angeles, CA.
       Rabbi Michael Lerner, Jewish, Beyt Tikkun Synagogue, 
     Berkeley, CA.
       Rev. John L Levy, Religious Science, Palm Springs, CA.
       Rev. Kirsten M. Linford, Disciples of Christ/United Church 
     of Christ, Westwood Hills Congregational UCC, Los Angeles, 
       Rev. Harriet B. Linville, Episcopal, Morro Bay, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Robert Lodwick, Presbyterian Church (USA), 
     Pasadena Presbyterian Church, Pasadena, CA.
       Rabbi Michael Lotker, Jewish, Temple Ner Ami, Northridge, 
       Rev. Petra Malleis-Sternberg, United Church of Christ, 
     First Congregational United Church of Christ, San Bernardino, 

[[Page H5312]]

       Rev. Tessie Mandeville, Universal Fellowship of 
     Metropolitan Community Churches, MCC San Francisco, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Robert Mattheis, Lutheran (ELCA), Our Savior, 
     Lafayette, CA, Lodi, CA.
       Rev. Patricia E. McClellan, OMC, Celtic Christian, St. 
     Columba's Celtic Christian Church, Pinole, CA.
       Rev. David Elwood McCracken, United Church of Christ, 
     Sonoma, CA.
       Rev. Gregory W. McGonigle, Unitarian Universalist, Davis, 
       Rev. Steven E Meineke, UCC, Solana Beach, CA.
       Rabbi Norman Mendel, Jewish, San Luis Obispo, CA.
       Rev. Barbara Meyers, Unitarian Universalist, Mission Peak 
     Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Fremont, CA.
       Rev. Eleanor Meyers, United Church of Christ, Claremont, 
       Rev. Ralph Midtlyng, ELCA, All Saints Ev. Lutheran, Granada 
     Hills, CA.
       Rev. Rosamonde Miller, Gnostic, Palo Alto, CA.
       Rev. John S Millspaugh, Unitarian Universalist, Tapestry, a 
     Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Mission Viejo, CA.
       Rev. Clair E Mitchell, United Methodist, Westwood--LA, CA, 
     Los Angeles, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Rick Mitchell, Disciples of Christ, Concord, CA.
       Rev. Douglas J. Monroe, United Methodist, 1st UMC of Napa, 
     Napa, CA.
       Rev. Richard O. Moore, United Church of Christ, Claremont, 
       Rev. Ronald S. Moore, Lutheran, San Leandro, CA.
       Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern, Unitarian Universalist, 
     Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA.
       Rev. Keith Mozingo, Metropolitan Community Churches, 
     Metropolitan Community Church Los Angeles, West Hollywood, 
       Rev. Paul Mullins, ELCA, Grace, San Francisco, CA.
       Rabbi Leonard Z Muroff, Jewish, Temple Beth Zion-Sinai, 
     Agoura Hills, CA.
       Rabbi Tracy Nathan, Jewish, Congregation Beth Sholom, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Arlene K. Nehring, United Church of Christ, Eden 
     United Church of Christ, Hayward, CA.
       Rev. Penny Nixon, Metropolitan Community Churches, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Julia H. Older, Unitarian Universalist, UUFRC, Redwood 
     City, CA.
       Rev. Kathleen France O'Leary, United Methodist, Arcata UMC, 
     McKinleyville, CA.
       Rev. G. Kathleen Owens, Unitarian Universalist, Pasadena, 
       Rev. Susan Parsley, Christian, Disciples of Christ, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Larry Patten, United Methodist, Wesley United 
     Methodist, Fresno, CA.
       Rev. Fhyre Phoenix, Universal Life Church, Arcata, CA.
       Rev. Giovanna Piazza, Ecumenical Catholic, Sophia Spirit, 
     Santa Ana, CA.
       Rev. Gayle Pickrell, United Methodist, Christ Church UMC, 
     Santa Rosa, CA.
       Rev. Fred Rabidoux, Unitarian Universalist, San Francisco, 
       Rabbi Sanford Ragins, Jewish, Leo Baeck Temple, Los 
     Angeles, CA.
       Rev. Lindi Ramsden, Unitarian Universalist, Unitarian 
     Universalist Legislative Ministry, CA, Sacramento, CA.
       Rev. Chris Rankin-Williams, Episcopal, Ross, CA.
       Rev. Dr. George Regas, Episcopal, All Saints Church, 
     Pasadena, CA, Pasadena, CA.
       Fr. John B. Reid, Eastern Orthodox, St. Michael's Church, 
     West Covina, CA.
       Rev. Holly Reinhart-Marean, United Methodist, Sierra Madre 
     United Methodist Church, Sierra Madre, CA.
       Rev. Thomas Reinhart-Marean, United Methodist, Sierra Madre 
     UMC, Sierra Madre, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Mark Richardson, United Methodist, Trinity UMC, 
     Los Osos California, Los Osos, CA.
       Rabbi Dorothy Richman, Jewish, Berkeley, CA.
       Mrs. Maria Riter Wilson, The Contemporary Catholic Church, 
     San Dimas, CA.
       Rev. Philip H. Robb, Episcopal, St. John's, San Bernardino, 
     Grand Terrace, CA.
       Br. Stuart G. Robertson, Presbyterian Church (USA), Grace 
     Sacramento, Carmichael, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Wayne Bradley Robinson, United Church of Christ, 
     Pioneer UCC, Antelope, CA.
       Rabbi Sanford Rosen, Jewish, Peninsula Temple Beth El, 
     Fullerton, CA.
       Rabbi John Rosove, Judaism, Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los 
     Angeles, CA.
       Rev. Kathleen D. Ross Bradford, Episcopal, St. Alban's, 
     Antioch, CA.
       Rev. Carol S. Rudisill, Unitarian Universalist, Sierra 
     Madre, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Victoria Rue, Roman Catholic, Watsonville, CA.
       Rev. Diane B. Russell, Religious Science, Bonita, Chula 
     Vista, CA.
       Rev. Susan L. Russell, Episcopal, All Saints Church, 
     Pasadena, Pasadena, CA.
       Rev. Kenneth Ryan-King, Episcopalian, San Jorge, Oakland, 
       Rev. Franklin D. Sablan, United Methodist, Wilshire UMC, 
     Los Angeles, CA.
       Rabbi Joseph Baruch Sacks, Conservative Judaism, 
     Congregation Beth Shalom of Corona, Los Angeles, CA.
       Rev. Katherine Salinaro, Episcopal, Hercules, CA.
       Rev. Blythe Sawyer, UCC, UCC Petaluma, Petaluma, CA.
       Rev. Maxine S. Schiltz, Religious Science, Lancaster, CA.
       Rev. David F. Schlicher, UCC, College Community 
     Congregational Church UCC, Fresno, CA.
       Rev. Rick Schlosser, United Methodist, Clearlake Oaks 
     Community UMC, Sacramento, CA.
       Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, UCC, United Church of Hayward, 
     UCC, Hayward, CA.
       Rev. Craig Scott, Unitarian Universalist, Berkeley, CA.
       Rabbi Judith A. Seid, Jewish, Tri-Valley Cultural Jews-
     CSJO, Pleasanton, CA.
       Rabbi Richard Shapiro, Jewish-Reform, Temple Sinai, Rancho 
     Mirage, CA.
       Rev. Andy Shelton, Community of Christ, Novato, CA.
       Rabbi John M. Sherwood, Jewish, Temple Beth Torah, Oxnard, 
       Rev. John L. Shriver, Presbyterian, Walnut Creek, CA.
       Rev. Linda Siddall, Religious Science, San Mateo, CA.
       Rev. Grace H. Simons, Unitarian Universalist, UU Fellowship 
     of Stanislaus County, Modesto, CA.
       Fr. Duane Lynn Sisson, Episcopalian, St. Giles, Oakland, 
       Rev. David A. Smiley, Disciples of Christ, San Luis Obispo, 
       Rev. Channing Smith, Episcopal, Transfiguration Episcopal 
     Church, Belmont, CA.
       Fr. Richard L. Smith, Ph.D., Episcopal, St. John the 
     Evangelist, San Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Stanley A. Smith, Protestant, Carmel, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Ronald Sparks, United Church of Christ, Community 
     Church, California City, CA.
       The Rev. Jeffrey Spencer, United Church of Christ, Niles 
     Congregational UCC, Fremont, CA.
       Rev. Terry C. Springstead, Mar Thoma Orthodox Catholic 
     Church, Ridgecrest, CA.
       Rev. Betty R. Stapleford, Unitarian Universalist, Conejo 
     Valley UU Fellowship, Thousand Oaks, CA.
       Rabbi David E. S. Stein, Jewish, Redondo Beach, CA.
       Rabbi Stephen Julius Stein, Jewish, Wilshire Boulevd 
     Temple, Los Angeles, CA.
       Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill, Jewish, Ohr Shekinah 
     Havurah, El Cerrito, CA.
       Rabbi Ronald Stern, Jewish, Stephen S. Wise Temple, Los 
     Angeles, CA.
       Rev. Robert Stewart, Presbyterian (USA), San Francisco, CA.
       The Rev. B.J. Stiles, United Methodist, Cal-Nev UMC 
     Conference, San Francisco, CA.
       Rev. Jerald Stinson, United Church of Christ, First 
     Congregational Church of Long Beach, CA, Long Beach, CA.
       Rev. Janine C. Stock, Independent Catholic, All Saints 
     Parish, Carlsbad, CA.
       Rev. Roger D. Straw, United Church of Christ, Benicia, CA.
       Rev. Susan M. Strouse, Lutheran, First United Lutheran, 
     Berkeley, CA.
       Rev. Rexford J. Styzens, Unitarian Universalist, Long 
     Beach, CA.
       Rev. Gerald V. Summers, United Methodist, Chico, CA.
       Rev. Neil A. Tadken, Episcopal, St. James' Church, L.A., 
     West Hollywood, CA.
       Msr. Suzanne Tavernetti, Episcopal, King City, CA.
       Rev. Richard E. Taylor, Ph.D., American Baptist, Eureka, 
       Rev. Wendy J. Taylor, United Church of Christ, San Mateo, 
       Rev. Neil G. Thomas, Metropolitan Community Churches, 
     Metropolitan Community Church Los Angeles, West Hollywood, 
       Rev. Janelle L. Tibbetts, PCUSA, Burbank, CA.
       Rev. Harold A. Tillinghast, United Methodist, Eureka, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Lynn Ungat, Unitarian Universalist, Church of the 
     Larger Fellowship, Castro Valley, CA.
       Rev. Valerie A. Valle, Ph.D., Episcopalian, St. Alban's, 
     Brentwood, Brentwood, CA.
       Rev. Clyde Vaughn, United Methodist, Aptos, California, 
     Aptos, CA.
       Rev. Felix C. Villanueva, UCC, UCC La Mesa, La Mesa, CA.
       Rev. Joseph Walters, Christian Church (Disciples of 
     Christ), First Christian Church, Fremont, CA.
       Rev. Mary Walton, United Methodist Church, Long Beach, CA.
       Rabbi Martin Weiner, Reform Judaism, Sherith Israel, San 
     Francisco, CA.
       Rev. S. Kay Wellington, UCC, Benicia Community, Concord, 
       Rev. Faith Whitmore, United Methodist, St. Mark's UMC, 
     Sacramento, CA.
       Rev. Bets Wienecke, Unitarian Universalist, Carpinteria, 
       Rev. Ned Wight, Unitarian Universalist, La Mesa, CA.
       Rev. Karen L. Wiklund, Universal Life Church, Lompoc, CA.
       Rev. Warren R. Wilcox, United Church of Christ, Grover 
     Beach, CA.
       Rev. Lee E. Williamson, United Methodist, California-Nevada 
     Conference, Hayward, CA.
       Rev. Dr. Kimberly Willis, United-Methodist, Bakersfield, 
       Rev. Paul D. Wolkovits, Roman Catholic, Los Angeles, CA.
       Rev. Mark Zangrando, Catholic, Jesuit, West Hollywood, CA.
       Rev. Oberon Zell, Church of All Worlds, Cotati, CA.
       Rev. David Zollars, Presbyterian, Comm. Pres. Pittsburg, 
     Pittsburg, CA.
       Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Reform Judaism, San Diego, CA.
       Pastor Janice Adams, Presbyterian, Calvary Presbyterian, 
     Bayfield, CO.
       Rev. George C. Anastos, United Church of Christ, First 
     Plymouth Congregational Church, Englewood, CO.

[[Page H5313]]

       Rev. Richard Baer, Buddhist, The Open Circle, Littleton, 
       Rabbi Eliot Baskin, Jewish, Har Shalom, Greenwood Village, 
       Rev. Bonnie L. Benda, United Methodist, Cameron, Denver, 
       Rev. Sharon A. Benton, Christian, Plymouth Congregational 
     Church, Fort Collins, CO.
       Rev. John P. Blinn, United Methodist, Pueblo, CO.
       Rev. Nelson Bock, Lutheran (ELCA), Our Savior's Lutheran, 
     Denver, Denver CO.
       Rev. Rebecca Booher, Interfaith/Unitarian Universalist, UU 
     Church of Pueblo, Pueblo, CO.
       Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, Reconstructionist/Jewish, Bnai 
     Havurah:CJRF, Denver, CO.
       Rev. Betty J. Bradford, United Methodist, Denver, CO.
       Rev. Patrick Bruns, United Methodist, Brentwood United 
     Methodist Church, Denver, CO.
       Rev. Russell V. Butler, United Methodist, Arvada United 
     Methodist, Arvada, CO.

  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I might 
  (Mr. KINGSTON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I also will submit into the Record at this 
point some groups who want to go on the record as being in support of 

                                       Coalitions for America,

                                    Washington, DC, July 17, 2006.
       Dear Representative, I want you to know that I am in fu11 
     support of your efforts and appreciate your leadership role 
     in helping to defend traditional marriage by sponsoring House 
     Joint Resolution 88, a constitutional amendment to define 
     marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
       As a conservative, amending the Constitution is not 
     something I or others should take lightly, but with the 
     continuous assault from the left on traditional marriage 
     ``day in and day out'' it is an issue that must be addressed, 
     I believe, by amending the Constitution.
                                                  Paul M. Weyrich,
     National Chairman.

 Position Statement of Focus on the Family on the Marriage Protection 
                        Amendment, H.J. Res. 88

       Marriage is a sacred, legal, and social union ordained by 
     God to be a lifelong exclusive relationship between one man 
     and one woman. Focus on the Family holds this institution in 
     the highest esteem, and strongly opposes any legal sanction 
     of marriage counterfeits, such as the legalization of same-
     sex ``marriage.'' History, nature, social science, 
     anthropology, religion, and theology all coalesce in vigorous 
     support of traditional marriage as it has always been 
     understood: a lifelong union of male and female for the 
     purpose of creating stable families.
       The Marriage Protection Amendment is necessary to protect 
     the institution of marriage. To date, three courts have 
     overturned state marriage protection amendments and in one 
     state--Massachusetts--judicial fiat has forced the state to 
     issue same-sex ``marriage'' licenses. Currently, ten states 
     face challenges to their marriage protection laws. Just one 
     such lawsuit needs to reach the Supreme Court before marriage 
     is redefined for all Americans.
       A plethora of federal and state law including tax law, 
     employment law, social security, wills and estates, depend on 
     a foundational definition of marriage for proper application. 
     Without a national definition of marriage upheld in the 
     Constitution, consistent administration of law will soon be 
       Due to the foundational importance of marriage in American 
     society it must be defined nationally. The only question is, 
     Who will define marriage? Will it be tyrannical judges acting 
     through the courts to write a radical new definition of 
     marriage or the American people, acting through their elected 
     legislators to pass a Marriage Protection Amendment? We 
     believe the people should decide.
       Focus on the Family calls on all Members of Congress to 
     cosponsor and vote in support of the Marriage Protection 
     Amendment, H.J. Res. 88.

                                             Center for Reclaiming

                                           America for Christ,

                               Fort Lauderdale, FL, July 14, 2006.
     Hon. Marilyn Musgrave,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Mrs. Musgrave: We firmly believe that marriage is more 
     than a private emotional relationship. It is for the common 
     good of society that marriage remains exclusively the union 
     of a man and a woman.
       We agree that the Constitutional amendment process is a 
     fair and democratic way of putting this important question 
     back in the hands of the American people rather than in the 
     hands of a number of unelected judges, whose bias leads them 
     to redefine marriage contrary to its basic meaning and 
           Respectfully submitted,

                                             Dr. Gary L. Cass,

                                               Executive Director,
     Center for Reclaiming America.

                                              American Association

                                         of Christian Schools,

                                   Chattanooga, TN, July 14, 2006.
       Dear Congressman: Multiple studies have shown that children 
     are healthier when they have both a mom and a dad married to 
     each other. Risks such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, and 
     poverty decrease when children live in a family with a mother 
     and a father. To intentionally increase a child's risk of 
     abuse by depriving him/her of a natural family structure is 
     unconscionable. A federal marriage amendment will protect 
     this family structure, and thereby protect the institution 
     that is foundational to our strong society.
       Despite the overwhelming support of Americans for the 
     protection of marriage, a few judges are taking liberties to 
     change the definition of marriage through the courts. As 
     President Bush said, ``After more than two centuries of 
     American Jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a 
     few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the 
     most fundamental institution of civilization.'' The Founders 
     did not intend for the Judiciary to overrule the will of the 
     people by judicial fiat, especially when that will extends to 
     preserving a sacred and essential institution of our society.
       The American Association of Christian Schools urges you to 
     join your colleagues in supporting and voting for a Federal 
     Constitutional Amendment that protects marriage.
           Yours for the children,
                                                      Keith Wiebe,

                                              American Values,

                                                    Arlington, VA.
       Dear Representative Musgrave: Thank you for your leadership 
     in defense of traditional marriage and for sponsoring House 
     Joint Resolution 88, a constitutional amendment to define 
     marriage as the union of one man and one woman. While 
     conservatives believe amending the Constitution should never 
     be taken lightly, the Constitution's framers created an 
     amendment process for a reason. Sometimes we must address 
     issues that affect us all, and marriage is just such an 
       I was encouraged to learn recently that New York's highest 
     court upheld the legislature's right to pass laws protecting 
     marriage, based largely on ``. . . the undisputed assumption 
     that marriage is important to the welfare of children.'' As 
     the court stated, ``. . . The Legislature could rationally 
     believe that it is better, other things being equal, for 
     children to grow up with both a mother and a father. 
     Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from 
     having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of 
     what both a man and woman are like.''
       Today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals re-instated 
     Nebraska's popularly-enacted marriage protection amendment 
     based on the recognition that marriage is ``rationally 
     related to legitimate state interests.'' While this decision 
     is good news, it also means that this case might be headed to 
     the United States Supreme Court, which raises the stakes in 
     the upcoming vote on House Joint Resolution 88.
       I am hopeful that the House of Representatives will follow 
     the lead of the American people and respond decisively to the 
     threat posed by judicial activists to redefine traditional 
     marriage. I look forward to working with you in the future on 
     this important issue.
     Gary L. Bauer.

         The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern 
           Baptist Convention,
                                     Nashville, TN, July 14, 2006.
     Hon. Marilyn Musgrave,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Congresswoman Musgrave: Recently Alabama, by the 
     approval of 81 percent of the people, became the 20th state 
     to affirm a state constitutional amendment on marriage. A 
     total of 45 states have now passed amendments or laws 
     prohibiting same-sex marriage. Clearly, Americans do not want 
     to see this most basic institution open to any arrangement 
     other than that of one man and one woman.
       Unfortunately, recent court decisions have demonstrated 
     that state constitutional amendments can be struck down at 
     the whim of an overreaching judge. Last year, a federal judge 
     struck down Nebraska's state marriage amendment--despite its 
     passage by over 70 percent of voters in 2000--and more 
     recently, a Georgia court deemed the state's marriage 
     amendment unconstitutional--in the wake of 76 percent of 
     voters favoring the amendment in 2004. Fortunately, the 
     Georgia ruling has been overturned, but that case still 
     serves as a reminder that an amendment to the U.S. 
     Constitution is the only sure means to safeguard marriage 
     from radical judges.
                                                  Richard D. Land,

  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
  Mr. WELDON of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the 
marriage protection amendment, and I want to thank Congresswoman 
Musgrave for her bravery and leadership on this critical issue.
  Marriage is an honored institution in this country, and voters have 
consistently voiced their support for protecting traditional marriage. 

[[Page H5314]]

State legislatures have already taken action and laws have been passed 
to establish marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
  Unfortunately, we have seen activist courts taking the legislative 
power away from elected officials and reversing important laws and, in 
particular, marriage protections. Recent court decisions are 
threatening traditional marriage, and I might add that there are groups 
in this country who have made that their agenda. They want to redefine 
the institution of marriage in the United States, and they do not want 
to do it through the political process, but they want to do it through 
the courts; and that is why we are here today having this debate.
  Our goal is to preserve the most basic fundamental unit of our 
society, of every society on the planet, the family. It has been 
consistently proven that children benefit the most from being raised in 
a home with a father and a mother present. Some people argue that 
traditional marriages and families are failing anyway and they are not 
worth protecting. I say if children are benefiting from traditional 
families, we always must fight. It is always worth protecting.
  This is why I stand today, urging my colleagues to support this 
important amendment. This issue will not go away, and that is about 
protecting the clergy so that they can marry men and women and not be 
forced by courts to do something other than what they want to do.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of points made in this debate 
today with doubtful validity. We are told we should pass this amendment 
to protect marriage. But against what threat? If Henry and Steve want 
to get married, maybe that is a good idea, maybe it is a bad idea, but 
it does not threaten the marriage of anyone else, of any man or woman 
who wants to get married. It does not affect them in any way. Divorce 
is a threat. Some of our other threats are threats, but gay marriage is 
not a threat to a straight marriage.
  We are told we have to protect children, but children are already in 
the custody of straight people, of gay people, of gay couples, of 
individuals. If we want to protect children, we should give a legal 
basis to the partnership of the two people who have custody of them. 
Now, we are not saying that it might not be preferable to have a 
traditional custody arrangement, maybe it is, but this does not affect 
that in any way.
  Nor do we say because we want to protect children that we prohibit 
elderly couples from getting married or sterile couples from getting 
married because procreation is the purpose of marriage. So this is a 
red herring.
  We had a whole religious discussion. The fact is churches can define 
marriage in their point of view, any way they want. We are not telling 
a church you must consider this couple married from a religious point 
of view. We are not telling the church how to define the sacrament. We 
are talking about civil marriage, and churches can do what they want 
and regard as married whom they want, but we are talking about what the 
government recognizes.
  We are also told that this is to protect marriage, but the amendment 
talks about not only marriage by, but the incidents thereof, to clearly 
prohibit specific rights that a State may choose to give to a gay 
couple, the right of inheritance, a right of visitation when one is 
sick in the hospital. Why should we tell the States they cannot do that 
at their wisdom?
  We are told always by the other side of the aisle that we should 
protect the rights of States, but as I said a few moments ago, family 
law, the marriage law, divorce law, visitation law, child custody law 
have always been a matter for the States. Why are we preempting those 
State laws?
  We are told we are preempting unelected judges, that that amendment 
is an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, that it would 
preempt not just judges elected or appointed. It would preempt the 
State legislative action; it would preempt action by the people in a 
referendum. That is not democratic, with a small D.
  This, Mr. Speaker, is a political stunt. It is a political stunt at 
the expense of a minority, of an unpopular minority. That is all it is. 
We know it is not going to pass. We know the Senate already rejected 
it. So this is just a political stunt.
  I appeal to my colleagues, vote ``no'' on this amendment. Leave 
family law where it always has been, with the State, and do not 
desecrate our Constitution, do not desecrate our most sacred document, 
our civil religion, by inserting it into an amendment to deny a basic 
right to an unpopular group just because we want to make a political 
point at the expense of that unpopular group in an election year.
  Make no mistake, that is what this amendment is. That is all it is. 
It does not protect marriage. It does not protect children. It just 
makes a political point at the expense of an unpopular group, and we 
should not desecrate our Constitution by so doing.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I rise to close and I just want to split 
the time between Mr. Murphy and Mrs. Musgrave.
  I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Murphy).
  Mr. MURPHY. I thank the Speaker and the Members on this as I speak in 
favor of this amendment.
  As a person who has spent my career as a child psychologist and have 
dealt with many children who have struggled with many problems in 
families, I have seen families ripped apart by so many things that 
sometimes law has tried to deal with. Instead, I think over the years 
we have cut the strength of marriage and relationships by the law and 
weakened the institution. We have tried to deal with relationships with 
no-fault divorce, with child custody, with so many other avenues; and 
it has not helped.
  What I do say is, yes, children may be resilient and they have been 
able to deal with all sorts of difficulties they have faced, but the 
bottom line is this: I believe very strongly children need a mother and 
a father in the home. They need strong relationships with men and women 
both, and they are the ones that I believe are part of what is 
preserved in this amendment and why I believe we need to support this, 
if anything, for the sake of those children who need this kind of 
support in their lifetime.

                              {time}  1330

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from Colorado is recognized 
for 1\1/2\ minutes.
  Mrs. MUSGRAVE. Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to Mr. Nadler, your 
statements about hospital visits and those things, that was a 
misstatement. That is not what this amendment does. There are State 
legislatures that have the authority to handle all of the benefits that 
you have talked about, and that is what the amendment clearly states.
  I would just like to say, we can look at places like the Netherlands, 
where since 1997 they have had registered partnership, and gay marriage 
since 2001. In effect, that is probably the best place to look at what 
gay marriage has done. The out-of-wedlock births have escalated. The 
divorce rate is escalating. In fact, many people in Scandinavia don't 
think that marriage is even relevant today.
  I would say today if marriage can mean anything, eventually marriage 
will mean nothing.
  Within the institution of marriage, society offers special support 
and encouragement to the men and women who together make children. 
Because marriage is deeply implicated in the interest of children, it 
is obviously a matter of public concern. Children depend on society to 
create institutions to keep them from chaos. That is why we have the 
obligation to give special support and encouragement to an institution 
that is necessary to the well-being of children.
  I urge my colleagues to support public policy that strengthens 
marriage and vote in favor of this amendment.
  Marriage is for Children:
  1a) In setting up the institution of marriage, society offers special 
support and encouragement to the men and women who together make 
children. Because marriage is deeply implicated in the interests of 
children, it is a matter of public concern. Children are helpless. They 
depend upon adults. Over and above their parents, children depend upon 
society to create institutions that keep them from chaos. Children 
cannot articulate their needs. Children cannot vote. Yet children are 

[[Page H5315]]

They are us, and they are our future. That is why society has the right 
to give special support and encouragement to an institution that is 
necessary to the well being of children--even if that means special 
benefits for some, and not for others. Single people are denied the 
benefits of married couples, for example. But this is permitted because 
married parenthood is essential to society. The law has always 
permitted the state to give special support to critical institutions, 
if those institutions serve a compelling interest of society. Marriage 
is exactly such an institution. Marriage is designed to maximize the 
chances that each child will be provided with a mother and a father, in 
a stable family setting, during the years when children are too young 
to fend for themselves. To redefine marriage in such a way as to remove 
its essential connection to parenthood is to take away its very 
  (1b) Only a man and a woman have the power between them to create 
children. Marriage as an institution helps to turn the love of a man 
and a woman into an instrument for the nurture and protection of 
children. If we redefine fathers, mothers, and parenthood out of 
marriage, then this precious institution will be lost.
  The European Experience With Gay Marriage:
  Can it be a coincidence that Scandinavia, the region with the highest 
out-of-wedlock birthrates in the world, was the very first place to 
recognize same-sex unions? Marriage was already in serious decline in 
Sweden and Norway when same-sex partnerships arrived, and since that 
time marital decline in those countries has advanced still further. But 
the clearest example of the effect of same-sex marriage is the 
Netherlands, where they have had registered partnerships since 1997 and 
full gay marriage since 2001. In the Netherlands, out-of-wedlock 
birthrates were low until the arrival of registered partnerships and 
gay marriage. But since the advent of registered partnerships and same-
sex marriage, the out-of-wedlock birthrate has risen faster and longer 
in the Netherlands than in any other west European country.
  (1a) What is marriage? Marriage is society's way of supporting the 
men and women who together make children. Children can't fend for 
themselves. That's why the public has always taken an interest in 
marriage. By supporting the institution of marriage, the state 
encourages the rearing of children under the secure care of a mother 
and father. But what would happen if we said marriage doesn't have 
anything to do with mothers, fathers, and children? What would happen 
if we said marriage is really just about a couple of adults who love 
each other--whether they're men and women or not?
  Well, just look at Scandinavia and Holland. Over in Scandinavia 
they've had various forms of same-sex partnership nearly two decades. 
And they've had gay marriage in Holland for several years. But marriage 
in Scandinavia is dying, and marriage in Holland is growing 
progressively weaker every year. A majority of children in Sweden and 
Norway are now born out-of-wedlock. In some parts of Norway, as many as 
eighty percent of first-born children and two-thirds of subsequent 
children are now born out-of-wedlock. True, much of that decline took 
place even before same-sex partnerships came into effect. But in both 
Sweden and Norway, marriage continued to decline following the 
introduction of same-sex partnerships. Can it be a coincidence that the 
region of the world where marriage has traditionally been weakest was 
the first place to experiment with something like same-sex marriage?
  The negative effects of gay marriage on marriage are even clearer in 
the Netherlands. Prior to the introduction of registered partnerships 
and later gay marriage, Holland was known for having one of the lowest 
out-of-wedlock birthrates in Northern Europe. Yet out-of-wedlock 
birthrates have been rising at an unusually rapid rate in the 
Netherlands ever since registered partnerships, and then formal gay 
marriage, were established.
  In the last decade, no other West European country has seen its out-
of-wedlock birthrate rise as fast as Holland's. And there were no other 
major legal or social changes during the last decade that might explain 
Holland's rising out-of-wedlock birthrate in some other way. So it 
looks very likely that registered partnerships and same-sex marriage 
have helped to hasten the unusually rapid decline of marriage in the 
  Gay marriage has helped send a message to parents in Scandinavia and 
Holland that being married doesn't have much of anything to do with 
being a parent. Nowadays, a lot of parents in Scandinavia and Holland 
put off getting married until after they've had a child or two, if they 
don't break up first--which many do. Increasingly, parents in these 
countries don't get married at all anymore. If marriage is disappearing 
in the parts of the world that have had something like gay marriage 
longer than anywhere else, I don't want to take a chance on gay 
marriage here.
  1b) Marriage is not meant solely, or even mainly, for husbands and 
wives. Marriage exists as a public institution because children need 
mothers and fathers. Once marriage is treated as a mere celebration of 
the love of two adults, there is no reason for it to necessarily happen 
before children are born instead of after. And if marriage could just 
as well happen after children are born, it doesn't really need to 
happen at all. European parents have increasingly stopped marrying 
because they no longer think of marriage as an institution meant to 
bind children to mothers and fathers. Gay marriage helps Europeans to 
see it that way, making them consider marriage nothing more than the 
expression of mutual affection between two adults. But this view 
translates into marrying long after children are born--if parents don't 
break up first. It means rising rates of family dissolution. That's 
what's happening in Europe. Do we want it to happen in America? That 
the family is the bedrock of society is more than just a cliche. In 
Scandinavia, where they've had de facto gay marriage for some time, 
marriage is dying, and a huge welfare state has taken over for parents. 
If the family goes here in America, then we will either have the social 
chaos of more crime and fatherless kids, or we will have to vastly 
expand our welfare state. So this issue touches on the deepest problems 
of governance. America's system of limited government works because the 
family does what the state does not. Weaken the family, and government 
is bound to expand to take its place. That is exactly what's happened 
in Scandinavia.

  Responding to Critics of the Scandinavia/Holland argument:
  (1) I know some folks have said that same-sex partnerships haven't 
had any bad effects on marriage in Europe, but I don't find their 
arguments convincing.
  (a) For one thing, some of these folks actually deny that Europe's 
high out-of-wedlock birthrates are a problem at all. That's just not 
true. In Europe, cohabiting parents break up at two-to-three times the 
rate of married parents. That level of family instability is very bad 
for children. So the European experience actually proves that it's 
better when parents get married.
  (b) Some folks say that marriage was in trouble in Scandinavia even 
before same-sex partnerships came along. Well, that's true, although in 
most parts of Scandinavia marriage continued to decline after same-sex 
partnerships came along. We all know that marriage has been in trouble 
for some time in America, and in many other countries, for a wide 
variety of reasons. But if you want to see a clear case where marriage 
was relatively strong, and only went into serious decline after the 
introduction of same-sex partnerships, just look at Holland. (See 1a in 
the previous section for more on Holland.)
  (c) Some folks claim that the Dutch example isn't a problem because 
out-of-wedlock birthrates have been rising almost as rapidly in Eastern 
Europe as in Holland. But the decline of marriage in Eastern Europe is 
rooted in the economic chaos that followed the collapse of communism. 
The amazing thing is that a prosperous Western European country like 
The Netherlands is experiencing the same sort of marital decline we're 
seeing in countries recovering from the collapse of their entire social 
  (d) Some folks say that out-of-wedlock birthrates in Sweden haven't 
gone up all that much since registered partnerships came along in 1994. 
But they're not counting from 1987, when Sweden introduced the very 
first same-sex partnerships in the world. Just because these first 
same-sex partnerships didn't include all the rights of marriage doesn't 
mean that they weren't a huge legal and symbolic step. Amazingly, in 
1987, at the very same time that Sweden introduced the first same-sex 
partnerships in the world, Sweden also granted just about all the 
rights of marriage to unmarried heterosexual couples. So from 1987 on, 
Sweden's parliament sent out a powerful message that married parenthood 
isn't important. Same-sex partnerships were part of that message from 
the start.
  (e) Some folks say that marriage in Denmark hasn't suffered since 
they adopted same-sex partnerships in 1989. Well, it's true that the 
Danish out-of-wedlock birthrate hasn't risen since they adopted same-
sex partnerships, like it has in Sweden, Norway, and Holland. But 
that's a bit misleading. Actually, the rate of unmarried parenthood has 
increased among young people in Denmark, who are adopting the same 
practice of cohabiting parenthood favored in other Scandinavian 
countries. But the increased rate of unmarried parenthood among young 
Danes has been temporarily offset by marriages among older Danes.
  You see, there are virtually no housewives left in Denmark. The need 
to support the huge Danish welfare state forces nearly all Danish women 
to work. And it was only in the late 1980's and 1990's that Denmark 
created a parental leave policy and other changes that allowed large 
numbers of women to take time off of work to become mothers. That 

[[Page H5316]]

change unleashed huge pent-up demand among Danish women to have 
children, and that led to a temporary increase in the marriage rate 
among older Danes. But all that time, younger Danes have been taking up 
the practice of unmarried parenthood that is already so popular in the 
rest of Scandinavia.
  The Slippery Slope to Polygamy, Polyamory (Group Marriage) and 
Parental Cohabitation:
  (1) Once we say that same-sex couples can marry, it's going to be 
impossible to deny that right to polygamists and believers in group 
marriage. After all, gay marriage is being advocated on grounds of 
relationship equality. So if all relationships are equal, why is group 
marriage forbidden? And don't think it can't happen here. We already 
know that there are thousands of practicing polygamists in some Western 
states. But did you also know that there are groups of ``polyamorists'' 
all over the country? Just go to the Internet and run a google search 
on the word ``polyamory.'' The polyamorists have already had one court 
case trying to gain recognition for a marriage of a woman and two men. 
They're just waiting for gay marriage to pass to begin agitating for 
legalized group marriage. And after granting gay marriage on equal 
protection grounds, how is a court going to deny them? There are plenty 
of polyamorists out there, but the problem goes further than that. We 
now have an advocacy group called the ``Alternatives to Marriage 
Project'' which supports polyamory and other innovations like parental 
cohabitation. The Alternatives to Marriage Project is frequently quoted 
in the mainstream media. And believe it or not, the most powerful 
faction of family law scholars in our law schools favors legal 
recognition of both polyamory and parental cohabitation. There are even 
law review articles out now advocating both. And the influential 
American Law Institute has even come out with proposals which would 
grant nearly equal legal recognition to cohabiting and married parents. 
If we allow marriage to be radically redefined now, we will not be able 
to stop these further changes.
  (2) Now I know that some folks scoff at the claim that same-sex 
marriage could lead to polygamy. But just look at what's happened 
around the world in the past year or so. In Sweden, which passed the 
first same-sex partnership plan in the world, we've had a serious 
proposals floated by parties on the left to abolish marriage and 
legalize multi-partner unions. In the Netherlands, the first country in 
the world to have full and formal same-sex marriage, a man and two 
bisexual women signed a triple cohabitation contract. When a 
conservative political party asked the Dutch government to withdraw 
recognition from that contract, the government refused. In fact, the 
Dutch Justice Minister said it was actually a good thing that the law 
was beginning to provide support for multi-partner relationships. In 
Canada, two out of four reports commissioned by the last government 
recommended the decriminalization and regulation of polygamy. True, the 
revelation of those reports helped Canada's Conservative Party win the 
last election. But the fact remains that many of Canada's legal elites 
want to see the abolition of traditional marriage and official 
recognition for multi-partner unions.

  And of course, in America we've got ``Big Love,'' a popular 
television show on HBO about polygamy. Even a year ago, no-one would 
have believed it if someone had said we'd soon have a television show 
with polygamists as heroes. But it's happened. And next week the BRAVO 
Channel is going to run a sympathetic documentary about a relationship 
between a woman and two bisexual men. It's called ``Three of Hearts,'' 
and it's already played in movie theaters across the country.
  The truth is, this is only the beginning. Advocates for multi-partner 
unions are out there, but many of them are waiting for same-sex 
marriage to be legalized before they make their move to gain public 
acceptance. Newsweek has already said that ``polygamy activists are 
emerging in the wake of the gay marriage movement.'' Well, just wait 
till gay marriage is actually legalized. If that happens, you can bet 
we'll see plenty more movies and television shows along the lines of 
``Big Love'' and ``Three of Hearts.'' The people on the so-called 
``cutting edge'' of culture in Europe and Canada have already made it 
clear that multi-partner unions are their next crusade, and it's 
happening in America even as we speak. The only way to put a stop to it 
is to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
  The Threat to Religious Freedom:
  (1) It's becoming increasingly apparent that gay marriage poses a 
significant threat to religious liberty. Scholars on both the left and 
right agree that same-sex marriage has raised the specter of a massive 
and protracted battle over religious freedom. In states that adopt 
same-sex marriage, religious liberty is clearly going to lose. Gay 
marriage proponents argue that sexual orientation is like race, and 
that opponents of same-sex marriage are therefore like bigots who 
oppose interracial marriage. Once same-sex marriage becomes law, that 
understanding is likely to be controlling. Legal same-sex marriage will 
be taken by courts as proof that a ``public policy'' in support of 
same-sex marriage exists.
  So in states with same-sex marriage, religiously affiliated schools, 
adoption agencies, psychological clinics, social workers, marital 
counselors, etc. will be forced to choose between going out of business 
and violating their own deeply held beliefs. If a religious social 
service agency refuses to offer counseling designed to preserve the 
marriage of a same-sex couple, it could lose its tax-exempt status. 
Religious schools would either have to tolerate conduct they believed 
to be sinful, or face a cut-off of federal funds. It's already 
happening, as we've seen with the recent withdrawal of Boston's 
Catholic Charities from the adoption business.
  Free speech could also be under threat, as sexual-harassment-in-the-
workplace principles are used by nervous corporate lawyers to draw 
speech prohibitions on the marriage issue. Fear of litigation will 
breed self-censorship. One expert predicts ``a concerted effort to take 
same-sex marriage from a negative right to be free of state 
interference to a positive entitlement to assistance by others.''
  Some folks say the answer to this problem is special exemptions from 
the law for religious conscience. But conscience exemptions would be 
very difficult to enact. And in Europe, which has tried this in places, 
conscience exemptions are breaking down and failing to provide 
protection for the traditionally religious.
  The lesson in all this is clear. There's a lot more at stake in the 
battle over same-sex marriage than the marriage issue itself, important 
as that is. The very ability of religiously affiliated organizations to 
exist and operate is under threat.
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose the Federal Marriage 
Amendment, H.J. Res. 88.
  Just a few yards down the hall from where we are debating this 
discriminatory constitutional amendment today, in the Rotunda of this 
great Capitol, stands a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Every time 
I walk through the Rotunda, I remember Dr. King's struggle and what his 
life meant for me and for all Americans. For too long, the inalienable 
constitutional rights of all Americans were denied to many of our 
neighbors. As the leader of the civil rights movement, Dr. King helped 
secure equal rights for all Americans regardless of the color of their 
  One of the things that Dr. King fought against were the anti-
miscegenation laws that existed at some point in 49 states. These laws 
prohibited interracial marriage and they were still in effect in 
sixteen states when the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional in 
1967 because they denied the liberty of American citizens. Legal bans 
on interracial marriage were defended with all the kinds of arguments 
used by proponents of bans on same sex marriage: They would say that 
interracial marriages are contrary to the laws of God or contrary to 
centuries of social tradition or harmful to the institution of marriage 
or harmful to children. Would any Member of this body now defend those 
bans? Those bans were discriminatory and took away the rights of 
American citizens--in short they were what the Constitution was 
designed to prohibit. No one longs for anti-miscegenation laws today. 
We as a nation have learned from our mistakes.
  Or have we?
  We remember Dr. King for what he stood for, not just for who he was. 
As he said, ``man is man because he is free to operate within the 
framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, 
and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by 
his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of 
beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.''
  Today, I ask, will we do evil or will we do good? Will we keep the 
spirit of the Founding Fathers alive? Will we respect and honor the 
foundations of our constitutional government or will we chart a new 
course and, in the name of protecting an institution that is under no 
threat, shred the very premise of our Constitution.
  Our Constitution is the source of our freedom in this great country. 
For almost 220 years, the Constitution--mankind's greatest invention--
has allowed our diverse people to live together, to balance our various 
interests, and to thrive. It has provided each citizen with broad, 
basic rights. The inherent wisdom of the Constitution is that it 
doesn't espouse a single viewpoint or ideology. Rather it protects all 
individuals as equal under the law.

  In more than 200 years, the Constitution has been amended on only 27 
occasions. With the exception of Prohibition--which was later 
repealed--these amendments have affirmed and expanded individual 
freedoms and rights. Yet, this proposed amendment threatens to lead us 
in a dangerous new direction. This amendment would restrict freedoms, 
and codify discrimination into our guiding charter.
  We must think deeply about the ramifications of allowing such an 
amendment to be ratified. It would create a group of second-

[[Page H5317]]

class citizens who lack equal rights due to the private, personal 
choices they and their loved one have made. It would also transfer to 
the federal government the right to recognize marriages, a power that 
had previously been retained by the States.
  This amendment is not only discriminatory and inhumane, it is also 
illogical. How does this actually protect marriage? What is it exactly 
about same sex marriage that is putting heterosexual marriage at risk? 
Do the proponents of the ban on same sex marriages want to annul all 
childless marriages or require all newlyweds to promise to have 
children? Do the proponents of this ban think for a moment that the 
marriage of loving people of the same sex are the case of America's 
high divorce rate among heterosexuals. It seems to me that other 
factors than this are responsible for the high divorce rate.
  I certainly agree that the institution of marriage and a cohesive 
family unit are vital to the health of our communities and the success 
of our society. Unfortunately, the amendment we are debating today does 
nothing to strengthen the bonds of matrimony, nor does it strengthen 
families or enhance our communities. In fact, it divides our 
communities, and shows contempt to a minority population. Throughout 
history, we have only moved forward when our society has come together 
to build a more perfect union, not intentionally divide American 
against American.
  No one should be denied the opportunity to choose his or her life 
partner. It is a basic human right. It is a deeply personal decision. 
Attacking gay couples who want to share lifelong obligations and 
responsibilities undermines the spirit of community that this amendment 
purports to strengthen.
  In 50 years will we build a statue to honor the great advances for 
our society that this amendment provided, as we do for the life of Dr. 
King? No. In the long shadow of history, this amendment and the 
philosophy behind it will be remembered alongside anti-miscegenation 
laws as offending the spirit of America and our founding principles.
  I hope that my colleagues will recognize the tremendous cost this 
amendment will have for our freedoms and I respectfully urge them to 
oppose it.
  Mr. TERRY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.J. Res. 88, the 
Marriage Protection Amendment.
  Last Friday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Nebraska 
constitutional amendment protecting marriage between one man and one 
woman, and affirming the legal protections and benefits reserved to 
this fundamental union. The amendment was approved by an overwhelming 
70 percent majority in 2000.
  Nationwide, 45 states have defined marriage as the union of one man 
and one woman or expressly prohibited same-sex marriage. Twenty states 
approved constitutional amendments upholding marriage; six states will 
vote on an amendment in November; and eight states are considering 
sending constitutional amendments to voters in 2006 or 2008. The 16 
states that approved constitutional amendments since 2004 did so by an 
average 72 percent voter majority.
  Even voters in Massachusetts--the first state to have its supreme 
court unilaterally declare same-sex marriage as constitutional--may 
have the opportunity to uphold marriage. The state's high court ruled 
last week that legislative efforts to put a same-sex marriage ban on 
the 2008 ballot could move forward. Recent court rulings in New York, 
Tennessee and Georgia have also upheld marriage rights.
  The Federal Marriage Protection Amendment under consideration today 
would prohibit any governmental entity--whether in the legislative, 
executive or judicial branch at all levels of government--from altering 
the definition of marriage. It does not discriminate against 
homosexuals; it upholds and recognizes the importance of marriage 
between a man and a woman for the well-being of children and society at 
  Mr. Speaker, the American people want the Marriage Protection 
Amendment to be approved. Their will is clearly reflected through the 
overwhelming majorities voting for marriage protection initiatives in 
the states. We have a responsibility to children and families 
nationwide to send a clear message today that marriage will be upheld 
and protected. We also have a sacred duty to future generations to 
preserve marriage as the fundamental building block of society.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.J. Res. 88 today.
  Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Speaker, today we are debating a Constitutional 
amendment drafted not to protect my marriage or my family--I see no 
reasonable way to argue it would--but rather to explicitly deny a 
portion of our society the right to marry and the benefits that 
accompany that kind of partnership.
  I do not advocate the legalization of gay marriage, but our 
Constitution is simply not the proper place to set this kind of social 
  I believed back in 1996, when I voted for the Defense of Marriage 
Act, and I still believe today, the decision about whether to recognize 
gay marriage should be left to the states.
  I can't help but wonder . . . Why are we doing this? What are we so 
afraid of?
  Gay men and women pass through our lives every day. There are 
wonderful teachers and leaders and role models who happen to be gay and 
sometimes we don't even know they're gay.
  I wouldn't be a Member of Congress today if it weren't for an 
extraordinary teacher I had in High School 40 years ago. I learned 
years later he was gay and that he had commuted from Connecticut to 
Washington, DC, every weekend in part to protect his privacy and his 
  When I went to college, my understanding of gay people was impacted 
again by my wife's best friend. One day, she told us she too had found 
the love of her life. We were eager to meet the boyfriend she was so 
madly in love with, but we soon learned her love was not a he, but a 
  Once we got over our surprise and our ways of thinking about 
relationships, we were able to sincerely rejoice in the joy they 
brought each other because we knew what a dear and good person our 
friend is.
  My perception of gay people evolved further during my first campaign 
for Congress, when I worked with a magnificent young man named Carl 
  He became my friend and he gave me another gay face to know. Carl has 
since passed away, but I remember him as a person of exceptional 
dignity and grace.
  My teacher, my wife's best friend and Carl helped me understand their 
lives and I think made me a better person in the process.
  The Constitution of the United Staets--which established our 
government, grants us free speech and gives all citizens the right to 
vote--should not be dishonored by this effort to write 
  I am sensitive to some of my colleague's concerns about potential 
biblical and social implications of legalizing same-size marriage, but 
I oppose this proposed amendment because I believe the Constitution is 
not the proper instrument to set--or reject--such policy. That debate 
should happened in our state legislatures.
  Mr. LEWIS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, over the years, this Nation has 
worked hard to take discrimination out of the Constitution, and today, 
the House is voting to put it back in.
  I can recall just a few short years ago that there were laws 
inscribed in some State constitutions saying that blacks and whites 
could not marry. We changed that.
  Today, we look back on those days, and we laugh. There will come a 
time when generations yet unborn will look back on this Congress, look 
back on this debate, and laugh at us. This is not a good day in 
America. This is a sad day in the House of the people.
  This is unbelievable. It is unreal. I thought as a Nation and as a 
people we had moved so far down the road toward one family, one House, 
one America. To pass this legislation would be a step backward.
  The institution of marriage is not begging this Congress for 
protection. No one is running through the halls of Congress. No one is 
running around this building saying protect us.
  Whose marriage is threatened? Whose marriage is in danger if two 
people, in the privacy of their own hearts, decide they want to be 
committed to each other? Whose marriage is threatened? Whose marriage 
is in danger if we decide to recognize the dignity, the worth and 
humanity of all human beings?
  The Constitution is a sacred document. It defines who we are as a 
nation and as a people. Over the years, we have tried to make it more 
and more inclusive. We cannot turn back. We do not want to go back. We 
want to go forward. Today it is gay marriage; tomorrow it will be 
something else.
  Forget about the politics; vote your conscience. Vote with your 
heart, vote with your soul, vote with your gut. Do what is right and 
defeat this amendment.
  Mr. STARK. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to House Joint 
Resolution 88, the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment, which 
proposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex couples 
from getting married or receiving any of the rights of marriage.
  The right-wing political machine is churning out divisive legislation 
at a record pace as we get close to the election, but this is a 
particular low point. We can all have a good laugh at the pandering 
Republican majority when they claim that banning flag burning will make 
us more patriotic or that school prayer will prevent teenage pregnancy, 
but this proposal would, for the first time ever, target a specific 
group of Americans in our most sacred document, and permanently ban 
them from having equal rights under the law.
  The proposed amendment not only bans marriage, but any of the ``legal 
incidents thereof,'' meaning that the proponents think our founding 
document should keep gay and lesbian couples from filing a joint tax 
return, inheriting property, or visiting their partner in the

[[Page H5318]]

hospital. I vehemently oppose this discrimination.
  Oh, and I forgot to mention that this amendment has already failed 
once in the House and twice in the Senate, so today's vote is all a 
terrible waste of time. What we should be doing is passing legislation 
to address real problems in America today. Rather than insult a group 
of people as deserving of protection under law as any other, Congress 
should work to reduce domestic violence, provide high quality childcare 
to all families, and make the minimum wage a living wage. These actions 
would actually prevent divorce in America and strengthen our families.
  Citizens of the United States are guaranteed equal treatment under 
the law, even if voters in red states don't like them. I urge my 
colleagues to vote against this nonsense.
  Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.J. Res. 
88, the so called Federal Marriage Amendment. This bill would turn over 
200 years of State jurisprudence on its head, attempting to Federalize 
  This resolution is another attempt to mandate one definition of 
marriage upon the States. I ask my colleagues if we take away this 
right from the States, what's next? Where does it stop? Take away local 
decisions for education or child custody issues. Between the 
consideration of this bill and the court stripping bills that we will 
take up this week, it leads me to believe, Mr. Speaker, this is just 
another cynical political ploy by the majority during an election year.
  Like Vice President Cheney and former Representative Bob Barr, I 
believe the voters of each State should decide for themselves who can 
and cannot marry. It has always been a State function. It should remain 
so. To take away that right of the State to decide this issue, we 
endanger basic principles of the Federal system in which we live. As 
our Constitution so eloquently states in the Tenth Amendment of our 
Federal Constitution, ``The powers not delegated to the United States 
by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved 
to the States respectively, or to the people.''
  Mr. Speaker, amendment of our Constitution has happened only 17 times 
since the Bill of Rights was passed. Some of those amendments do not 
look so good today. Many of those not adopted now look worse. We should 
not lightly tamper with the perfection, beauty and majesty of our great 
  There have been no Committee hearings, no time to look at different 
amendment proposals, and no opportunity to have the important 
deliberations that should take place when amending the Constitution. We 
have heard nothing from our concerned citizens and from our 
Constitutional scholars.
  The issue before us today is not whether you are for or against gay 
marriage. It is whether or not we should Federalize marriage and take 
away the right of the States to define marriage.
  Now Mr. Speaker, I supported the Defense of Marriage Act and continue 
to do so. At this point, the Defense of Marriage Act remains the law of 
the land. It works. Nothing yet threatens this law. Nothing more needs 
to be done on this matter.
  Those proposing this amendment rely on hypothetical dangers to try 
and push through a dramatic, but mischievous change to our 
Constitution. I am opposed to taking away the right of each State to 
have its citizenry decide how to define marriage. It seems to me too 
many people are meddling in this matter for political reasons. Let the 
States continue to decide sound public policy on this subject.
  We must never rush to amend our Constitution. Mr. Speaker, I oppose 
this bill and ask for my colleagues to vote against this iniquitous, 
politically inspired, and destructive legislation.
  The Constitution is not a laundry list to be amended on whim or 
caprice. It is a great, noble and living document, not to be 
trivialized by amendments which are unnecessary. This amendment is for 
useless political purposes and should be defeated as an affront to our 
great and majestic Constitution.
  Mr. MARIO DIAZ-BALART of Florida. Mr. Speaker, as a proud husband and 
father, I value family above all else and strongly support the 
traditional family: the union of a man and a woman. This union is the 
cornerstone of our society, and plays a vital and unique role in our 
children's lives and in our communities.
  Today, we considered H.J. Res. 88, The Marriage Protection Amendment. 
This legislation seeks to alter the United States Constitution--the 
bedrock of democracy and the basis of our Republic for 217 years--to 
define marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The U.S. 
Constitution embodies the federalist principles this country was 
founded on and should be held to the highest standard. It should only 
be altered in the most extreme circumstances. I believe opening this 
document to allow such a narrow definition could lead to unintended 
consequences in the near and far future. Our commitment to federalist 
principles and to this great Republic must supersede all debates of the 
  Furthermore, I strongly believe that one of the most important powers 
reserved to the States as a result of the 10th Amendment is the act of 
regulating marriage and family law. This right of States to self-
determination has protected and sustained our Republic for more than 
200 years.
  While serving in the Florida Senate in 1997, I voted to support a 
statute stating that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. 
This statute became State law and was in response to action taken by 
the U.S. Congress to ensure the right of the States to define marriage.
  In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, 
which was subsequently signed into law. DOMA provides each State the 
discretion to determine whether to recognize a same-sex marriage 
license issued by another State. I strongly support DOMA because it 
protects the right of States to self-determination.
  On July 22, 2004, I supported the Protection of Marriage Act which 
would have permitted States to reject same-sex marriages from other 
States without interference by Federal courts.
  Since the passage of DOMA, 45 states, such as Florida, have banned 
gay marriage by statute or in their Constitutions, and numerous court 
decisions have upheld these laws. Where judicial activism has 
threatened traditional marriage, the people have acted to protect it, 
such as in the State of Massachusetts, where a ballot initiative is 
being circulated to overturn a court ruling allowing for same-sex 
  Moreover, it is my belief that the U.S. Supreme Court will ensure 
that States' rights and the institution of traditional marriage are 
upheld. Additionally, as a result of past Supreme Court decisions, 
exemptions have been made to the ``Full Faith and Credit Clause'' that 
apply to DOMA. If the Supreme Court, at any point in the future, did 
attempt to redefine marriage as something other than the union between 
one man and one woman, I want to be clear that I would determine it an 
extreme circumstance and would at that time advocate a Constitutional 
  Congress must be diligent in its efforts not to overstep and impede 
on more than two centuries of a successful Republic without absolute 
necessity. I strongly believe that marriage should only be the union 
between one man and one woman, but I do not believe that the threshold 
for constitutional change has been reached.
  Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my disappointment that this 
body has brought the Marriage Protection Act to the Floor at a time 
when American families are dealing with skyrocketing health costs, 
rising gas prices, and loved ones who are serving the Nation overseas. 
Mr. Speaker, is the matter before us today truly the most important 
subject for Congress to debate?
  This is not to say that I believe the issue of gay marriage to be 
unworthy of discussion. I understand that some people firmly regard gay 
marriage as a civil right while others find it antithetical to their 
religious or moral beliefs. Reasonable people can disagree on this 
issue, and it is a subject which our country must continue to discuss. 
In America, however, the authority to grant legal status to a marriage 
has been a function reserved for the States, and different States have 
different laws regarding issues ranging from blood-testing to waiting 
periods before marriage.
  Some, including the proponents of this bill, will argue that an 
amendment to the U.S. Constitution is necessary to keep one State from 
forcing another to accept same-sex marriages. In fact, this is not 
necessary because of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Law, which provides 
that States, U.S. territories, or Indian tribes do not have to 
recognize same-sex marriages granted by other States. Further, the Act 
defines marriage, for the purpose of Federal benefits and rules, as the 
legal union between one man and one woman. Therefore, the Wisconsin law 
which recognizes marriage as a relationship between a husband and wife 
is protected.
  Mr. Speaker, when it comes to amending the United States 
Constitution, I am very conservative. Like Republican Senator Chuck 
Hagel, conservative columnist George F. Will, and the Republican author 
of the Defense of Marriage Act, Bob Barr, I am opposed to amending the 
Constitution for the purpose of outlawing gay marriage. In its 2I5-year 
history, the Constitution has been amended only 27 times, and we must 
not add amendments limiting rights rather than expanding them.
  Dick Cheney has stated ``With respect to my views on the issue, I 
stated those during the course of the 2000 campaign, that I thought 
when it came to the question of whether or not some sort of legal 
status or legal sanction were granted to a same-sex relationship that 
that was a matter best left to the States. That was my view then. 
That's my view now.'' (Scripps Howard News Service, January 9, 2004). 
As recently as August, 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking

[[Page H5319]]

of gay marriage, affirmed that, ``marriage has historically been a 
relationship that has been handled by the States.'' Like Vice President 
Cheney, I do not believe the U.S. Congress needs to intrude on this 
State issue. Because of my great respect for the Constitution, and for 
the Federal nature of the government which the document dictates, I 
oppose this resolution, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle to do the same. Because of illness, I was unable to cast my vote 
on today's amendment; had I been able to, I would have voted ``no.''
  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I cannot support changing the 
Constitution along the lines of this proposal--so I will not vote for 
this resolution.
  Under our federal system, there are many matters where the states 
have broad latitude to shape their laws and policies in ways their 
residents think fit, subject to the U.S. Constitution's provisions 
protecting individual rights. And one of those areas has been family 
law, including the regulation of marriage and divorce. But this 
amendment would change that.
  Adoption of this amendment would for the first time impose a 
constitutional restriction on the ability of a state to define 
marriage. And it would do so in a way that would restrict, not protect, 
individual rights that now are protected in at least some states. I 
think this is not necessary or appropriate.
  Some of the resolution's supporters say it is needed so a state whose 
laws ban same-sex marriages or civil unions will not be forced to 
recognize such marriages or unions established under another state's 
  They say this could happen because Article IV of the Constitution 
requires each state to give full faith and credit to another state's 
public acts, records, and judicial proceedings. But my understanding is 
that this part of the Constitution has never been construed to require 
states to recognize the validity of all marriages of people from other 
  Instead, over the years various states have refused to recognize some 
out-of-state marriages--and the ``full faith and credit'' clause has 
not been used to force them to do otherwise--because marriages are not 
judgments but civil contracts that a state may choose to recognize as a 
matter of comity, not as a constitutional requirement.
  As if this were not enough, in 1996 Congress passed and President 
Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act. That law says ``No 
State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, 
shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial 
proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe 
respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is 
treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, 
possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such 
  Not everyone supported that bill at the time. But it did pass, and 
now that law is on the books and has not been successfully challenged.
  Given this history, I am not convinced that this constitutional 
amendment is necessary to prevent the full faith and credit clause 
being used to compel a state to recognize a same-sex marriage.
  Moreover, when you focus on the language of the proposed amendment it 
becomes clear that protecting states is not its real purpose.
  That purpose could be achieved by an amendment to the full faith and 
credit clause--perhaps by putting language along the lines of the 
Defense of Marriage Act into the constitution itself. But that is not 
what is being proposed here.
  Instead, this amendment would restrict states, by establishing a 
single definition of marriage--the only definition that any state could 
  And, unlike other constitutional amendments, it would not protect 
individuals either. It would write into the Constitution a new limit on 
what legal rights they could hope to have protected by a state or the 
federal government.
  If adopted, this amendment would restrict individual liberties 
instead of expanding them. So, I think it is clear the real purpose of 
this amendment is to lay a foundation for discrimination against some 
Americans on the basis of their sexual orientation. In good conscience, 
I cannot support that.
  Mr. Speaker, no proposed constitutional amendment should be taken 
lightly. On the contrary, I think such proposals require very careful 
scrutiny and should not be adopted unless we are convinced that a 
change in our fundamental law is essential.
  I do not think this resolution meets that test, and so I will vote 
against it.
  Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.J. Res. 88, the 
Marriage Protection Amendment. Passage of this resolution will not 
protect marriage, and I am concerned it will create the opposite effect 
of what its proponents seek to accomplish.
  Let me first state that I believe that marriage is a sacred union 
between one man and one woman. I strongly support the federal Defense 
of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed by Congress and signed into law in 1996.
  Second, marriage is an issue that our Founding Fathers wisely left to 
the states. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states, ``The 
powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor 
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States 
respectively, or to the people.''
  No Congress ever has seen fit to amend the Constitution to address 
any issue related to marriage. No Constitutional Amendment was needed 
to ban polygamy or bigamy, nor was a Constitutional Amendment needed to 
set a uniform age of majority to ban child marriages.
  So why do proponents argue that we must take this unprecedented step 
now to ban same-sex marriages?
  They claim that without the Amendment, states will be forced to 
recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Yet the Defense 
of Marriage Act not only prohibits federal recognition of same-sex 
marriages, it allows individual states to refuse to recognize such 
unions performed in other states. And in the nearly 10 years that have 
passed since its enactment, DOMA never has been invalidated in any 
court in the country. The authors of DOMA took the greatest pains to 
write a law that is constitutional and will withstand judicial 
  Proponents also claim that amending the Constitution is the only way 
to prevent so-called activist judges from legislating matters of same-
sex marriage. Yet amending the Constitution to address marriage could 
invite federal judicial review not only of marriage, but of divorce, 
child custody, inheritance, adoption, and other issues of family law. 
Not only would this violate the principles of federalism, it would 
create very bad public policy.
  Mr. Speaker, no legislature in the country has established same-sex 
marriage in statute. In fact, 45 states, including Illinois, have 
adopted laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman.
  I urge my colleagues to have faith in our system of government, keep 
marriage out of the Constitution, and allow the states to continue to 
exercise what is best left to them.
  Mr. HERGER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of House Joint 
Resolution 88. Most Americans believe that marriage should be defined 
as the legal union of one man and one woman. But as we have seen in the 
past several years, attacks on marriage by unelected and unaccountable 
judges threaten to destroy this long-standing and widely accepted 
institution. I firmly believe that activist judges should not be able 
to overturn the marriage laws of almost every state based on bizarre 
legal theories. Although I believe we must be extremely careful in 
amending the Constitution, this is a critically important issue for our 
country. We must place the vital institution of marriage beyond the 
reach of activist courts.
  Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.J. Res. 
  Instead of spending time working on the issues that really matter to 
the American people, we are here debating a proposed amendment that 
would write discrimination into the Constitution.
  We do this even after the Senate failed to pass a similar amendment.
  So let's be clear, regardless of what the vote is today, this 
amendment is going nowhere.
  This makes our time on this even more pointless.
  What this debate really is about is dividing our country and riling 
up the base for a Republican party increasingly concerned about their 
election prospects this November.
  And the Republican leadership is willing to trample on our 
Constitution in order to do so and no issue is worth paying such a 
  Instead of debating discrimination and dividing our country, why 
don't we spend our time working to make health care more affordable, 
work to lower gas prices and achieve energy independence, raise the 
minimum wage, cut the cost of college or work to ensure our hardworking 
constituents a dignified retirement?
  Why is it that my Republican colleagues who talk so much about family 
values refuse to allow our families to earn a livable wage, refuse to 
fix the prescription drug program and turn their backs on our children 
by raising the interest rate on all student loans?
  We must resist this divisive use of this House to score a few 
political points. We must reject this effort.
  We need real leadership that will bring our country towards a new 
  There is a new direction that our country must go in that will help 
American families and address the issues that impact them every single 
  Mr. MEEK of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise to voice my strong 
opposition to H.J. Res. 88, a proposed Constitutional amendment that 
would prohibit same sex marriages. This proposed amendment is not 
directed at any real problem, other than the apparent need of the 
Republican leadership to gin up political support for their candidates.
  It is sad that the Republican leadership is not as interested as they 
say they are in protecting the institution of marriage as they are

[[Page H5320]]

in waging a campaign to divide and distract the American people from 
the real issues that need to be addressed. The Nation is at war in 
Iraq; we face crises in Iran, North Korea and Lebanon; the federal 
deficit is soaring out of control as more and more U.S. debt is 
controlled by countries like China; energy costs continue to rise and 
Americans wait for Congress to act to increase the minimum wage. The 
Republican response: wasting hours of debate on an unnecessary 
Constitutional amendment that had already been defeated in the Senate.
  Studies have consistently shown that financial hardship is the 
biggest obstacle to heterosexual marriage, yet the Republican 
leadership has done precious little to help address the financial 
hardship faced by American families.
  American families need job security; better child care options; 
national flextime policies that allow more young parents to work from 
home and to be with their families; better public schools; federal 
policies to make sure college is affordable; housing policies that 
promote the construction of homes that working families can afford; and 
health care so that no child has to go without the medical and dental 
treatment he or she needs.
  Instead, today, we vote on an effort to single out one group of 
Americans, in a pointless, partisan move that does nothing to address 
the major challenges facing our Nation--education, the economy, energy, 
homeland security and the war in Iraq.
  For over 200 years, our Constitution has defined our Nation and 
protected individual rights. It is a document of empowerment, not 
limitation. While the Constitution has been amended, it has been done 
so only to protect and expand individual liberty, not to deny it.
  Americans see this amendment for what it is: a partisan waste of 
time, and that is why we need a new direction in Washington that would 
prioritize the needs of every-day working people.
  Mr. Speaker, I oppose this resolution, and I call on my colleagues to 
join me in defeating it.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, I oppose this constitutional amendment 
to ban gay marriage. The legislation before us today is nothing more 
than an attempt by the Republican leadership to exploit a wedge issue 
that panders to their political base and diverts attention from their 
abysmal record of non-accomplishment and rubberstamping the 
incompetence of the Bush Administration.
  As we get closer to the end of this Congress, we should be addressing 
the urgent needs of the American people--the war in Iraq, affordable 
health care, a sensible energy policy, quality education for our 
children, retirement security, and a sound and fair fiscal policy.
  Whatever one's view is on same sex marriage, amending the 
Constitution is not the place to address this issue. The laws governing 
marriage fall under the domain of the states and that is where this 
issue should be addressed. Amendments to the Constitution have 
historically expanded, not diminished, the rights and liberties of the 
American people. We should not use the Constitution as a political tool 
to divide us. The American people will see through the motivations 
behind this amendment--to distract the American people from the failed 
record of the Republican leadership in the Congress.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to work to unite the American 
people, address the real issues facing our Nation, and reject this 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 918, the joint 
resolution is considered read and the previous question is ordered.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the joint 
  The joint resolution was ordered to be engrossed and read a third 
time, and was read the third time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the joint 
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds of 
those present have voted in the affirmative.
  Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 236, 
nays 187, answered ``present'' 1, not voting 9, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 378]


     Barrett (SC)
     Bartlett (MD)
     Barton (TX)
     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (UT)
     Bradley (NH)
     Brady (TX)
     Brown (SC)
     Brown-Waite, Ginny
     Burton (IN)
     Camp (MI)
     Campbell (CA)
     Cole (OK)
     Davis (AL)
     Davis (KY)
     Davis (TN)
     Davis, Jo Ann
     Davis, Tom
     Deal (GA)
     English (PA)
     Franks (AZ)
     Garrett (NJ)
     Green (WI)
     Hastings (WA)
     Inglis (SC)
     Johnson (IL)
     Jones (NC)
     Kennedy (MN)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kuhl (NY)
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Lungren, Daniel E.
     McCaul (TX)
     Miller (FL)
     Miller (MI)
     Miller, Gary
     Moran (KS)
     Peterson (MN)
     Peterson (PA)
     Price (GA)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rogers (MI)
     Ryan (WI)
     Ryun (KS)
     Scott (GA)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Taylor (MS)
     Taylor (NC)
     Thompson (MS)
     Walden (OR)
     Weldon (FL)
     Weldon (PA)
     Wilson (NM)
     Wilson (SC)
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)


     Bishop (NY)
     Brady (PA)
     Brown, Corrine
     Davis (CA)
     Davis (FL)
     Diaz-Balart, L.
     Diaz-Balart, M.
     Fitzpatrick (PA)
     Frank (MA)
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Hastings (FL)
     Jackson (IL)
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Johnson (CT)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Jones (OH)
     Kennedy (RI)
     Kilpatrick (MI)
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lewis (GA)
     Lofgren, Zoe
     McCollum (MN)
     Meek (FL)
     Meeks (NY)
     Miller (NC)
     Miller, George
     Moore (KS)
     Moore (WI)
     Moran (VA)
     Neal (MA)
     Price (NC)
     Pryce (OH)
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Sanchez, Loretta
     Schwartz (PA)
     Schwarz (MI)
     Scott (VA)
     Smith (WA)
     Thompson (CA)
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Van Hollen
     Wasserman Schultz

                        ANSWERED ``PRESENT''--1


                             NOT VOTING--9

     Brown (OH)
     Davis (IL)
     Johnson, Sam

[[Page H5321]]

                              {time}  1400

  So (two-thirds of those voting having not responded in the 
affirmative) the joint resolution was not passed.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  Stated against:
  Mr. HINOJOSA. Mr. Speaker, during rollcall vote No. 378 on July 18th 
I was unavoidably detained. Had I been present, I would have voted 
  Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, regarding the Federal marriage 
amendment, I was detained coming in from the airport, missed the vote 
by 4 minutes, and would have voted ``nay'' on the Federal marriage 
amendment, rollcall 378.
  Mr. STRICKLAND. Mr. Speaker, on rollcall 378, which I missed as a 
result of my being detained at the airport, I indicate for the Record 
that I would have voted ``nay'' had I been here for that vote.