This week, the U.S. Senate focused much of its attention on the Marriage Protection Amendment, a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage as being between one man and one woman. While more senators voted for it this time than two years ago, we still didn't meet the threshold for a constitutional amendment to pass. But we are making progress.
Voters in Louisiana and at least 44 other states have shown their support for traditional marriage by voting to protect it. But these laws are being attacked in courts across the country, and activist judges should not be able to suppress the will of the American people. This is why we need a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage.
Marriage is a core institution of societies throughout the world and is a bedrock institution for our own society because it has provided permanence and stability for our very social structure. Studies have shown that the institution of marriage has a positive impact on the lives of both parents and children because, for example, it reduces the risk of poverty and the risk of crime.
The majority of children whose parents either never marry or get divorced, live through at least one year of poverty. And boys who grow up in fatherless households are two to three times more likely to commit crimes and end up in jail.
In contrast, marriage benefits both the physical and mental health of children, fosters better academic performance from children and strengthens the relationship between parents and children. That's why it's very important to further the marriage debate on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Some folks in Washington may not get that, but certainly a lot of folks in the real world, certainly in Louisiana, get it. Two years ago Louisiana passed a state marriage constitutional amendment with 78 percent of the vote. Folks in Louisiana simply want their wishes honored, and they don't want the amendment by undone activist judges in federal courts or courts in other states, which is why this federal constitutional amendment is necessary. The only way to ensure that activist judges do not overrule the will of the American people is to pass an amendment to the Constitution.
As an original co-author of the federal marriage amendment, I voted for it. I think it's a very important debate for us to further. I think we're making progress and winning a lot of hearts and minds and I will keep working to win approval of this constitutional amendment.
I am interested in hearing your thoughts on how the U.S. Senate can help protect traditional marriage. Please contact me with your ideas at any of my state offices or in my Washington office by mail at U.S. Senator David Vitter, U.S. Senate, 516 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, or by phone at 202-224-4623. You can also reach me on the web at http://vitter.senate.gov.