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Public Statements

Issue Position: Civil Rights - Marriage Equality

Issue Position

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I believe in full marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Our constitutional system - the checks and balances between the three co-equal branches of government - was created to ensure the protection of minority rights, and throughout history many groups of individuals have sought such protections from their government. Today, people who want the protections of marriage laws for their same sex partnerships are petitioning their government. The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) seeks to amend the United States Constitution to declare that marriage in the United States shall consist only of a legal union of a man and a woman, and that "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." I am strongly opposed to this Amendment, which I believe is both harmful and divisive.

The U.S. Constitution has rarely been amended. Since the Bill of Rights was adopted, we have amended our Constitution only 17 times, all but once (Prohibition) to expand the rights and freedoms of citizens. The constitution should be a document that expands rights, opportunities and aspirations

The proposed amendment would also undermine our federalist tradition of deferring to the states to regulate marriage. The Federal Marriage Amendment would prevent cities and states from enacting any protections for same-sex couples. It would limit the ability of states to confer protections such as hospital visitation rights, health insurance or broader civil union or domestic partnership protections on unmarried couples. Most Americans support protecting families, yet this amendment would threaten civil unions and domestic partnerships.

I want to see the day when gay and lesbian families are protected through the same laws and with the same obligations, responsibilities and rights as straight Americans.


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