Providing for Consideration of H.J. Res 106, Marriage Protection Amendment

By:  Steve Chabot
Date: Sept. 30, 2004
Location: Washington, DC


PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.J. Res. 106, MARRIAGE PROTECTION AMENDMENT -- (House of Representatives - September 30, 2004)

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Mrs. MYRICK. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot).

Mr. CHABOT. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me this time.

Mr. Speaker, my comments would be generally around an article which appeared by one of my colleagues whom I greatly respect, the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), who spoke out against this amendment. I generally agree with the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), but I have to respectfully disagree with him on this particular item.

Traditional marriage, let us face it, is under attack for the very reasons that my colleague from California (Mr. Cox) had cited in that article. We need a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage from the courts. For the reasons cited by the Massachusetts Supreme Court and the logic of the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, we cannot trust the courts to interpret the law as it was intended.

As the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) cited in the article: "The judicial imagination continues to thrive." While I believe that rights under the 14th amendment should evolve, there must be checks. The Marriage Protection Amendment will check this imagination and protect marriage as it was intended.

The need for a Federal marriage amendment is simple. The traditional institution of marriage is under Federal constitutional attack in the courts. Legal experts across the political spectrum agree that the only way to guarantee and preserve the status quo, and the traditional institution of marriage, is a Federal constitutional amendment.

Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Lawrence v. Texas in June of 2003, legal experts predicted that courts would begin to strike down traditional marriage laws around the country. Indeed, one justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has already written, while serving as general counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, that traditional marriage laws such as anti-bigamy laws are unconstitutional and must be struck down by the courts.

A State constitutional amendment cannot solve this problem. Just ask Nebraska, whose State constitutional amendment is currently under Federal constitutional attack. And as the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) had acknowledged, even the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court relied on the 14th amendment, a Federal constitutional provision, to invalidate traditional marriage laws in that State.

At least six Federal constitutional challenges to the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, are now pending in four States: Florida, Minnesota, Washington, and California. A representative of the Lambda Legal organization, a champion of the nationwide litigation campaign to abolish traditional marriage laws in every State, recently stated, "We won't stop until we have same-sex marriage nationwide."

The only way to stop the lawsuits and to ensure the protection of traditional marriage is a constitutional amendment.