Marriage Protection Amendment

By:  Mary Bono Mack
Date: Sept. 30, 2004
Location: Washington, DC


MARRIAGE PROTECTION AMENDMENT -- (House of Representatives - September 30, 2004)

(BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT)

Mrs. BONO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition of H.J. Res. 106, "the Marriage Protection Amendment," which would amend the United States Constitution, regarding the issue of gay marriage. As someone who has consistently revered the United States Constitution, I am very cautious of any efforts to amend this precious document and hold a high standard on what is worthy of this extensive process.

H.J. Res. 106 defines marriage within the United States as "the union of a man and a woman," and I believe in this core philosophy. However, it is imperative that we preserve the integrity of the United States Constitution and do not dilute it with our political agendas and preferences. Although I do not support gay marriage, I do not feel that this issue renders the need to amend the United States Constitution. Neither would I support an amendment to the constitution that would give gay couples the right to be married.

Moreover, if enacted, the Marriage Protection Amendment would severely limit State rights. It precludes States from granting marital status or the "legal incidents thereof" to unmarried couples. The Federal Government should respect the rights of individual States, and should not be in the business of deciding whether States may grant the benefits of marriage to unmarried couples. It is the prerogative of States to make their own decision on whether to take on the burden of providing such benefits.

For all these reasons, I oppose this constitutional amendment.