MARRIAGE PROTECTION AMENDMENT -- (House of Representatives - September 30, 2004)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 801, proceedings will now resume on the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 106) proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage.
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Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to address this issue.
Is it a blatant attempt by Republicans to score political points in a political season? I am sorry, but it was not the Republicans who brought up the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision on May 17. We have very little influence in that particular matter.
From my friends on the other side of the aisle who declare to us that amending the Constitution is just the extension of rights, I would remind them that the Dred Scott decision that said that slavery is correct and proper for these United States was, in fact, turned around in a very similar situation that we are facing today.
A Supreme Court is positioning itself to declare a certain thing which is in opposition to the will of the majority of the people, and we are simply going to turn that around with a constitutional amendment, the same as the Thirteenth Amendment turned around the Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court.
Now for the discussion about what this is really about. Once we leave the discussion of what is right for children as the heart of the discussion, we begin to get confused about what is right. When we talk about the fact that there are loving, gay couples who would like to raise their children, we seem to depart from the facts because only one out of three lesbians living in the same household are actually raising children, and among gay men, only one out of five.
This issue is not about the right to raise children. This issue is about their rights to redefine marriage for the entire Nation, and I will disagree with my friends on the other side of the aisle that it is worth fighting for right now. It is worth fighting for in this House, and it is worth fighting for on the streets of America so that we have this national public discussion to determine what is most effective for our children.
If we want examples, we can look to Scandinavia where more than 60 percent now of the children are born out of wedlock, just a few short years after they have taken the same step that we are taking here.
This discussion is about what is right for children. It has nothing to do with what is right for adults. How can we say that the rights of adults to choose their desire is more important than what is necessary to correctly and properly raise our children? What is right for our children is a discussion.
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Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for the time and rise in support of the Marriage Protection Amendment.
There, again, needs to be the general statement that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose, and I will work to support that right, but they do not have the right to define marriage for all of us.
As far as the question of bigotry and civil rights, 60 percent of African-Americans oppose same-sex marriage. Are they bigots? I do not think so.
Shelby Steele, an African-American scholar, said properly, "Gay marriage is simply not a civil rights issue. It is not a struggle for freedom. It is a struggle of already free people for complete social acceptance. Black leaders ..... have distanced themselves from the gay marriage issue."
We have had a little lecture on tolerance, and yet it is the side of the people who are arguing against this marriage act who have called death threats in to the original sponsor. It is those people who e-mail daily hateful comments. I wonder where the question of tolerance is at this point when someone dares to differ with them.
There is a question of, who gets harmed from same-sex marriage? When we approve same-sex marriage, we are going to be required to teach that it is okay. In fact, it is going to be wrong to teach against it. If we think that that is not going to happen, look at what has happened to the Boy Scouts of America who dared to take a stance. The all-out assault on the institution of the Boy Scouts of America has been unending, trying to get them to change their stance, simply saying, we want to teach our values.
Religious groups like Catholic Charities or Salvation Army may lose their non-profit status and other facilities unless they endorse gay marriage. Is that what we want? Do we want common, decent, God-fearing people to be declared as bigots, to be declared as speakers of hate speech?
That is where this discussion is going, Mr. Speaker. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.
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