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Public Statements

Defense of Marriage Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

(Mr. FARENTHOLD asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. FARENTHOLD. Mr. Speaker, on February 23, the Justice Department announced it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. The Defense of Marriage Act was a bipartisan effort to preserve the sanctity of marriage that, among other things, defined marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.

The Attorney General and President have independently determined that this is unconstitutional. Anyone who's taken a civics class or a government course will tell you that's not the President's or the Justice Department's job. It's the Supreme Court's job. This is an express violation of the separation of powers principle found in the Constitution, and it presents a dangerous precedent for future administrations to follow.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, whether marriage is a biblically sanctioned union between a man and a woman or otherwise, there could be no doubt that this power grab by the President and the Justice Department is not what our Founding Fathers intended when they created the checks and balances system of our Constitution.

The Obama administration, if it disagrees with a law passed by Congress and signed by a previous President, it should use the legislative process to change that law--not usurp the power of another branch of government.

This is not a gay rights issue. This is a separation of powers issue.

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