MARRIAGE PROTECTION AMENDMENT -- (Senate - June 15, 2006)
Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I strongly support traditional marriage, the bedrock of our society, and I therefore support the Marriage Protection Amendment.
Like some of my colleagues, I believe that marriage is typically a State issue. Unelected, lifetime-appointed judges, however, have forced our hand on this issue. We can no longer sit idly by while a handful of activist judges lay the groundwork to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and redefine marriage for the entire Nation.
I voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act a decade ago, which reinforced States rights on this issue. Since then, 26 States have passed statutes designed to protect traditional marriage by defining marriage only as the union of a man and a woman. Further, 19 States now have constitutional amendments that contain this same definition. Voters in seven additional States will vote on constitutional amendments this year. Another four State legislature--including that of my own State, Iowa--are considering sending constitutional amendments to voters within the next 2 years. Ballot initiatives are currently underway in three States. Only a handful of States have redefined marriage to include same-sex partnerships, created a version of civil unions, or lack actual or planned protection for traditional marriage.
The states have spoken. A great majority of them have decided that marriage, in their States, shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. But, it has become a common prediction that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act will be overturned by the judiciary. In that case, the full faith and credit clause of our Constitution would require every State to recognize so-called marriages performed in States that allow the union of same-sex couples, many only by judicial decree. We cannot allow unelected judges to force their will upon the people, who have acted through the democratic process to defend traditional marriage.
Under our Constitution, Congress has the responsibility to enact legislation. Congress also has the responsibility to initiate the constitutional amendment process. We must fulfill this duty to protect traditional marriage. We must provide the States the opportunity to defend marriage as they have defined it.