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. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WEINER. I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts.
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I wanted to ask the previous speaker, who said he had presided over the dissolution of 20,000 marriages, I just wonder, in how many of those was the cause of the dissolution some gay relationship?
I mean, I am prepared to own up when I am at fault. Am I responsible, as a gay man, for any of those 20,000 dissolutions? The gentleman said there were 20,000 dissolutions. Would he tell us in how many of those 20,000 dissolutions was the existence of a gay marriage or gay civil union the cause?
Mr. CARTER. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WEINER. I yield to the gentleman from Texas for a response.
Mr. CARTER. About a half a dozen. But that was not the issue I was talking about.
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. A half a dozen out of 20,000.
Mr. CARTER. If I have the floor, and I might speak, my point was the damage that the dissolution of marriage causes to the children of this marriage. I said nothing about gay marriages in my speech whatsoever.
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I apologize. If the gentleman would continue to yield briefly.
Mr. WEINER. I continue to yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I apologize for assuming that the gentleman was referring to gay marriage. This is a debate about gay marriage. So when the gentleman talked about the dissolution of 20,000 marriages, I made, apparently, the incorrect inference that there was some relationship between what the gentleman was saying and the subject under suggestion. I withdraw the inference.
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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, consistently proponents of this amendment have tried to hide what it does. Yes, there is a question about what one State could be compelled to do by the Federal courts to respect another. If that were the problem, an amendment could come forward aimed narrowly at that. I would not support it. But an amendment that said the full faith and credit clause does not apply could have come forward. This amendment goes far beyond that. But the proponents of it apparently understand how indefensible it is in the very democratic terms which they use, and therefore they conceal it from the people, speaker after speaker after speaker.
I hope the majority leader will tell us why he will not be straightforward about this element of it and here is what it is: this does not simply say that judges cannot decide the question. And it does not say that one State cannot compel another. It also says, and its major impact, if it were to pass, would be to say to the voters of Massachusetts, no matter what you say in a referendum, no matter how you, the democratic electorate of Massachusetts, choose to define marriage, we the Federal Government overrule you.
What justification have you for that? You say the people of Texas, the people of Tennessee want to decide. Why not the people of Massachusetts? Why did you not draft an amendment that would have honored the right of a State's electorate to make a decision? Our legislature is now in charge of this issue. The legislature will decide and the referendum will decide; and this amendment undeniably, but silently, says that no matter what any State does, it will be overruled. Vermont's civil union law originally came from the courts, but it has since been accepted by the political electorate. There have been votes in Vermont over this. Elections. This would also be overturned.
But now let me turn to the merits. We heard one gentleman say that he was not talking about same-sex marriage. He just noted that he had presided over the dissolution of 20,000 marriages. I am a gay man and I have presided over the dissolution of none. So I guess I do not feel quite as guilty about assaulting marriage as some of you would like me to feel. I am sorry Rush Limbaugh has been divorced three times, but it ain't my fault; and it is not the fault of any of my friends. That is the issue.
We are not assaulting marriage. Since when is it an assault on something for people to say, you know what, we have been excluded from this institution. We are also human beings and we feel love. We feel it in a way different than you. We feel it for someone of the same sex, male or female. And we look at your institution of marriage, and we see the joy it brings. We see the stability it brings to society. How does it hurt you if we share in it? That is the core issue I have not heard understood. What is it about the fact that two women in love in Massachusetts want to be legally as well as morally responsible for each other and live together and keep their home? Why is that an assault on you?
What a case of blaming the victim. You are defending yourselves against two loving people whose failure is to love each other and to want not simply to be free floating but to be committed? What is it you are protecting yourselves against? How do we threaten you? What about the love of two men so disturbs you that it would dissolve marriages? There are apparently, what, men and women happily married all over the country and they will learn that in Massachusetts the legislature allowed same-sex marriage to continue and they will get a divorce, they will call the gentleman from Texas and he can make it 20,001.
The gentleman from Texas, the majority leader, says this is not about gay marriage. Yes. And God didn't make little green apples and it don't rain in Indianapolis in the summertime. This is a political effort and it comes up a month before the election when it has been an issue since May of this year at least and before, a month before the election, an amendment that has no chance to pass, demonizes same-sex couples.
I say demonize for this reason. You say, we do not have anything against these people. Then why do you change my love into a weapon? Why if I have the same feelings that you do towards another human being does that somehow become the only weapon of mass destruction you have ever been able to find?
I urge the House to turn this down, let the people of Massachusetts make their own choices, and let loving men and loving women live in peace.
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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I insert into the RECORD answers I gave to the Committee on the Judiciary and some further material which rebut the preposterous conclusion of Stanley Krutz, which was quoted here, that somehow, same-sex marriage resulted in a decline in heterosexual marriages elsewhere.
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, CONSTITUTION SUBCOMMITTEE,
Rayburn House Office Building,
Answers to the questions from Jerrold Nadler:
When I was asked about Stanley Kurtz's research by Congresswoman Hart at the hearing, I had not read any of his work. I now have and I can say that I believe his interpretation is entirely without intellectual merit.
As I recall Ms. Hart's question, she asked me to accept Mr. Kurtz's factual assertion that a recognition of same-sex marriage had been followed in various European countries by a decline in heterosexual marriage, and asked if I could think of any possible explanation other than that the former had caused the latter.
I was reluctant to answer the question before reading the data lest I be validating premises and assumptions which I would later find to be invalid. This turns out to be the case. In fact, Mr. Kurtz does not himself argue that same-sex marriage recognition preceded a decline in heterosexual marriage. In every country he discusses, and his selection is surprisingly sparse, a point to which I'll return, a decline in heterosexual marriage and childrearing in heterosexual marriages preceded by a significant period of years any recognition of same-sex marriages.
But even on the narrow-and inaccurate-statement of Mr. Kurtz's position that Ms. Hart put forward, the alternative explanation to the assertion that same-sex marriage causes a deterioration in heterosexual marriage is a simple one: They may both be effects of the same or similar social causes. Indeed, as Ms. Hart put the question to me, it can serve as a dictionary example of the logical fallacy known as "post hoc ergo propterhoc." That is, the fallacy that believes that if something happened after something else, it must necessarily have been caused by it.
The key point again to stress is that Mr. Kurtz himself does not argue that same-sex marriage recognition preceded the deterioration in opposite-sex marriage.
In fact, Mr. Kurtz himself argues essentially that the primary relationship of same-sex marriage and a decline in heterosexual marriage is that they are both cause by the same set of social phenomena. A fundamental flaw in his reasoning of course is that he does virtually no analysis of any of the European countries in which there has not been some form of recognition of same-sex relationships. In other words, there is zero comparative analysis in his work. Have significant deteriorations in the incidence of heterosexual marriages happened in other European countries which have not in fact recognized same-sex relationships. The answer is almost certainly yes but we will never know that from reading Mr. Kurtz, who carefully avoids even posing that question, obviously lest his hypothesis be endangered. He does refer to England as a country where there has been a significant deterioration in the number of heterosexual marriages, but fails to note that this undercuts his argument about the relationship between this and recognizing same-sex relationships since England had not done that at the time of his analysis.
The second point to be stressed is that Mr. Kurtz is not talking about same-sex marriage in most cases, but rather of various forms of recognition of same-sex relationships, akin to domestic partnerships or civil unions. This is relevant because some of those who questioned me who are supporters of a Constitutional amendment asserted that they were talking only about the unique nature of marriage, and seemed to think that Mr. Kurtz supported them. Of course he does not since he conflates marriage and other forms of recognition throughout his analysis. Thus, the distinction that one Constitutional amendment draws between marriage and other forms of same-sex relationships does not appear to be at all supported by Mr. Kurtz's analysis.
I have read both his testimony and his article in the Weekly Standard carefully and I am unable to find any coherent argument that says that recognizing same-sex relationships reinforced-he does not claim that they are the primary cause-a decline in heterosexual marriage. His exact statement is "there is good reason to believe that same-sex marriage and marriage-like same-sex registered partnerships are both an effect and a reinforcing cause of the Scandinavian trend towards unmarried parenthood." The primary cause of the "marital decline in Scandinavia" according to Mr. Kurtz, incidentally, are "contraception, abortion, women in the workforce, cultural individualism, secularism and the welfare state." That is, all of these have by Mr. Kurtz's own analysis more of a responsibility for the decline of heterosexual marriage and same-sex-marriage. This of course reinforces my earlier point-namely that Mr. Kurtz scrupulously in his analysis avoids looking at the statistics in countries which have not recognized same-sex marriage, since virtually all of them in Western Europe are affected by these other factors. And it does appear that to Mr. Kurtz, even if we abolish same-sex relationship recognition, we would have to ban or severely restrict contraception, abortion, women in the workforce, cultural individualism, secularism and the welfare state if we were to save marriage. I recognize that there are members of the Judiciary Committee who are attracted by the notion of restricting some or all of these, and I commend their discretion in not being more explicit about this wish.
When it comes to causality, the only effort to establish a causal relationship-between recognizing same-sex unions and the decline in heterosexual marriage comes in his testimony when Mr. Kurtz says that "same-sex partnerships in Scandinavia have furthered the cultural separation of marriage and parenthood in at least two ways." He then says that "first, the debate over same-sex partnerships has split the Norwegian Church," and he argues that this weakening of the traditionals within the Norwegian Lutheran Church is a cause of an increase in same-sex relationships. I have tried very hard to find the second causal factor but a very close reading of the text produces no second. So we are left with one assertion of causality-namely that the fact that "clergy who preach against homosexual behavior are banned" from preaching in parts of Norway means that their advocacy of heterosexual marriage is no longer heard. This reinforces my view that whatever is or is not happening in Scandinavia in this regard has virtually no relevance to the United States.
I am aware of no religious denomination that has banned clergy from the pulpit if they are against same-sex marriages. There are some denominations that allow this to be performed, but there should be no analogy between the United States, where the great majority of religious groups do not recognize same-sex marriages, and Mr. Kurtz's view of parts of Norway where virtually all clergy who oppose same-sex marriage are banned. To be explicit, if the causality that links a recognition of same-sex relationships to a decline in heterosexual marriage rests entirely on the fact that anti-same-sex relationship clergy are being marginalized and in some cases silenced, it has no relevance to the United States where nothing of that sort has happened or is likely to happen.
This leads me to my final point-namely that reading Mr. Kurtz makes it even clearer than it was to me before that the most relevant experience to draw on in predicting what impact recognizing same-sex relationships will have on American society comes from Vermont. Some have argued that the Vermont experience is not relevant because it has only been in effect for four years or so. But Mr. Kurtz himself has an important section in his testimony on the Netherlands, where "formal same-sex marriage ..... took effect in 2001," and "marriage-like registered partnerships" dates from 1998. In other words, the Vermont experience is roughly comparable in time to that of the Netherlands, and if Mr. Kurtz is right in judging an impact based on the Netherlands, Vermont should be equally relevant from the chronological standpoint-and, as a part of the United States, far more relevant culturally.
We have one set of experiences with legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the United States-that of Vermont. It shows none of the negative effects that opponents of same-sex marriage have predicted. Mr. Kurtz advances a correlation in the continued decline of marriage in various European countries-where that decline long predated any recognition of same-sex relationships-and the recognition of same-sex relationships. But he carefully confines his analysis only to those countries where same-sex relationships have been recognized, so we have no way of telling whether or not the decline in marriage that he attributes to same-sex relationships has been equally great in countries where there is no such recognition. And the only specific causal point he advances is that this silencing or intimidation of Norwegian Lutheran clergy who oppose same-sex marriage has diminished their ability to preach in favor of heterosexual marriage. I am very certain in my view that the experience in Vermont is far more relevant to gauging the impact of a recognition of same-sex relationships in the United States than is the experience in a couple of Norwegian counties where the clergy opposed to same-sex relationships have been silenced.
Will Providing Marriage Rights to Same-Sex Couples Undermine Heterosexual Marriage?
Since the November 2003 court ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts, a new debate on expanding the right to marry has exploded across the United States. While the debate involves many issues, one particularly controversial question is whether heterosexual people would change their marriage behavior if same-sex couples were given the same marital rights and obligations.
As a way to understand what might happen, some writers have looked to the experience of those Scandinavian countries that have pioneered giving a marriage-like status to gay and lesbian couples. Denmark adopted such a "registered partnership" law in 1989, Norway in 1993, Sweden in 1994, and Iceland in 1996. Same-sex couples who register as partners in those countries receive most of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Since then, three other countries (France, Germany, and Finland) have also created a new status for same-sex couples, and two (the Netherlands and Belgium) opened marriage to same-sex couples.
What can we learn from the experience of these countries about how giving gay couples the right to marry affects heterosexual marriage patterns? On the one hand, the fact that Danish marriage rates increased slightly after the passage of partner recognition laws has led some observers to conclude that gay couples are saving the institution of marriage.
On the other hand, Stanley Kurtz of the Hoover Institution claims that allowing gay couples to marry or have marital rights has undermined the institution of marriage in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. This second argument has been widely reprinted and quoted around the country. However, the claim that giving marital rights to gay couples will undermine heterosexual marriage is based on the consistent misuse and misinterpretation of data.
The argument that same-sex partnerships undermine heterosexual marriage rests on four claims:
1. In the European countries that allow same-sex couples to register as partners, marriage and parenthood have become separated, and married parenthood has become a minority occurrence.
2. The separation of marriage and parenthood in those countries is disastrous for children because of higher rates of break-up among cohabitors.
3. Allowing gay marriage accelerates the separation of parenthood and marriage.
4. If the U.S. allows gay couples to marry, heterosexual people in the U.S. will adopt European-style family dynamics.
In fact, none of these claims fits the actual evidence of the Scandinavian and Dutch experience and the U.S. context. A closer look at the data reveals a very different picture:
Divorce rates have not risen since the passage of partnership laws, and marriage rates have remained stable or actually increased.
The majority of parents are married. The average Scandinavian child spends more than 80% of his or her youth living with both parents-more time than the average American child.
Non-marital birth rates have not risen faster in Scandinavia or the Netherlands since the passage of partnership laws. Although there has been a long-term trend toward the separation of sex, reproduction, and marriage in the industrialized west, this trend is unrelated to the legal recognition of same-sex couples. Non-marital birth rates changed just as much in countries without partnership laws as in countries that legally recognize same-sex couples' partnerships.
MARRIED PARENTS ARE STILL THE MAJORITY IN SCANDINAVIA
Marriage and child-bearing have become less directly connected over time in many European countries, including Scandinavia. But as we shall see, this separation hardly qualifies as the death of marriage, and it cannot be blamed on the passage of same-sex partner laws.
In fact, Denmark's longterm decline in marriage rates turned around in the early 1980's, and the upward trend has continued since the 1989 passage of the registered partner law. Now the Danish heterosexual marriage rates are now the highest they have been since the early 1970's. The most recent marriage rates in Sweden, Norway, and Iceland are also higher today than they were in the years before the partnership laws were passed. The slight dip in marriage rates in the Netherlands since 2001 is the result of a recession-induced cutback on weddings, according to Dutch demographers, and the actual number of marriages has gone up and down in the last few years, even before the legalization of same-sex marriage.
No research suggests that recognizing same-sex couples' relationships caused the increase in marriage rates. But heterosexual couples in those countries were clearly not deterred from marrying by the legalization of same-sex couples' rights.
Divorce rates also show no evidence of harm to heterosexual marriage from partnership laws. Scandinavian divorce rates have not changed much in Scandinavia in the last two decades. Danish demographers have even found that marriages in the early 1990's appear to be more stable than those in the 1980's.
Cohabitation rates are indeed on the rise, though, as is the likelihood that an unmarried cohabiting couple will have children. In Denmark, the number of cohabiting couples with children rose by 25% in the 1990s. Roughly half of all births in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, and almost 2/3 in Iceland, are to parents who are not married. From these figures, Kurtz concludes that "married parenthood has become a minority phenomenon."
In fact, however, the majority of families with children in Scandinavia and the Netherlands are still headed by married parents. In 2000, for instance, 78% of Danish couples with children were married couples. If we also include single parent families in the calculation, almost two-thirds of families with children were headed by a married couple. In Norway, 77% of couples with children are married, and 61% of all families with children are headed by married parents. And 75% of Dutch families with children include married couples. By comparison, 72% of families with children are headed by married couples in the United States.
How can this fact coexist with high nonmarital birth rates and cohabitation rates? The main reason is that in Scandinavia and the Netherlands most cohabiting couples marry after they start having children. In Sweden, for instance, 70% of cohabiters marry after the birth of the first child, most of them within five years. In the Netherlands, while 30% of children are born outside of marriage, only 21% of children under one live with unmarried parents, and by age five, only 11% live with unmarried parents. As a result, high rates of married couple parenting and rising marriage rates in Scandinavia are not incompatible with high nonmarital birth rates.
THE IMPACT ON CHILDREN
Kurtz claims that the rise in nonmarital births will hurt children since unmarried couples are more likely to break-up than married couples. And it is true that unmarried cohabiters' unions are more likely to dissolve in Scandinavia than are marriages, even when children are present. But when cohabiting parents marry in Scandinavian countries, as most eventually do, they are not more likely to divorce than are couples who were married when they had their children.
As a result, children in Scandinavian countries still spend most of their lives with their parents living together. In fact, they spend more time than kids in the U.S. do! Gunnar Andersson has calculated how much time the average child spent living with both parents in the same household in the 1980's, the most recent period that allows comparisons across countries. Of the countries he examines, the lowest average is in the United States, where the time spent with both parents is 67%. The highest is in Italy, where it is 97%. In Sweden the average is 81%, in Norway it is 89%, and in Finland it is 88%. In other words, combining the time that parents are cohabiting and married demonstrates that children are spending the vast majority of their young lives with their parents in the Scandinavian countries.
DID GAY MARRIAGE WIDEN THE SPLIT BETWEEN PARENTHOOD AND MARRIAGE?
No one would argue that marriage plays the same role in Scandinavia and in other parts of Europe that it once did. And to his credit, Kurtz himself recognizes that changes in marriage in Scandinavia were in many ways cause rather than effect of the legal recognition extended to gay couples. Kurtz acknowledges that high rates of cohabitation and the changing role of marriage in Scandinavia probably made it more likely that those countries would be the innovators in giving marriage-like rights to gay people. The decline of religious practice and belief, the rise of the welfare state, advances in contraception and abortion, and the improving economic status of women-all long-term trends in Scandinavia and the Netherlands-probably contributed both to the rise in cohabitation and to the equalizing of rights for gay and lesbian people.
In a recent study, I compared the cohabitation rates (and other variables) in the nine countries that recognize same-sex partners with other European and North American countries that do not. Cohabitation rates were higher in the partner recognition countries before the passage of same-sex partner laws. Since higher cohabitation rates came first, it would be inappropriate to blame partnership laws for more cohabitation.
But Kurtz also makes the subtler claim that registered partnerships "further undermined the institution" (his emphasis) and that "gay marriage has widened the separation" between marriage and parenthood. In other words, things were already bad but gay marriage made it worse.
However, this argument does not hold up, either, since the nonmarital birth rate began rising in the 1970's, long before any legal recognition of same-sex couples, and it has actually slowed down in Scandinavia in recent years. From 1970 to 1980, the Danish nonmarital birth rate tripled, rising from 11% to 33%. It rose again in the following decade, but by a much smaller amount, to 46% in 1990, before ending its climb. Denmark's nonmarital birth rate did not increase at all when the Danish partnership law was passed in 1989. In fact, it actually decreased a bit after that date!
Norway's big surge in non-marital births also occurred well before the passage of its registered partnership law in 1993. In the 1980's, the percentage of births to unmarried parents rose from 16% to 39%. In first half of the 1990's, the nonmarital birth rate rose more slowly, leveling off at 50% in the mid-1990s.
Kurtz argues that the main impact of partner registration laws in Norway was to discourage couples from marrying after the birth of their first child. But the data on second, third, and later babies born to unmarried parents tell the same story as the overall trend. In 1985, 10% of second and later babies had unmarried parents, a number that tripled to 31% by 1993. From 1994 to 2003, though, the number only rose to 41% where it appears to be leveling off. If the partnership law had "further" encouraged nonmarital births of first or later children, these rates should have increased faster after 1993, but in fact the increase slowed down (for second and later births) or stopped (for first births).
The Netherlands show a slightly different pattern, but here, too, there is no correlation between recognition of same-sex partnerships and rising rates of non-marital births. Despite high rates of cohabitation, the Dutch have traditionally been much less likely than Scandinavians to have babies before marriage, with fewer than one in ten births to unmarried parents until 1988. Kurtz argues that legal recognition for same-sex couples kicked Holland into the Scandinavian league with respect to nonmarital parenting. It is true that the Dutch nonmarital birth rate has been rising steadily since the 1980's, and sometime in the early 1990's the nonmarital birth rate started increasing at a somewhat faster rate. But that acceleration began well before the Netherlands implemented registered partnerships in 1998 and gave same-sex couples the right to marry in 2001.
Another helpful perspective is to compare the trends of countries that have a partner registration law with those that do not. I recognizing gay couples contributed to the increase in nonmarital births, then we should see a bigger change in countries with those laws than in countries without them. Data from Eurostat shows that in the 1990's, the eight countries that recognized registered partners at some point in that decade saw an increase in the average nonmarital birth rate from 36% in 1991 to 44% in 2000, for an eight percentage point increase. In the EU countries (plus Switzerland) that didn't recognize partners, the average rate rose from 15% to 23%--also an eight percentage point increase. The change in rates was exactly the same, demonstrating that partner registration laws did not cause the nonmarital birth rate trends.
Even if we distinguish two kinds of countries-separating out those like the Netherlands with traditionally low nonmarital birth rates from those like Norway with traditionally high rates-we see that there is no connection between partnership recognition and the growth in nonmarital births. The same rapid rise in nonmarital births that that we see in the Netherlands in the 1990s also occurred in other European countries that initially had low nonmarital birth rates. Nonmarital birth rates have soared in in Ireland, Luxembourg, Hungary, Lithuania, and several other eastern European countries-all countries that do not allow same-sex couples to marry or register.
Only one piece of evidence supports Kurtz's argument that partnership created a new wedge between parenthood and marriage, and that piece of evidence directly contradicts Kurtz's ideas about the cause of such a separation. Contrary to what many observers believe, Scandinavian parliaments did not give same-sex couples the exact same rights as heterosexual couples. Quite deliberately, the various Scandinavian parliaments chose to provide legal ties for same-sex couples through a special new legal relationship, not by the simpler path of extending the right to marry to same-sex couples. And the parliaments denied same-sex couples the right to adopt children (including their nonbiological children raised from birth) or to gain access to reproductive technologies. Thus Scandinavian governments did create a wedge between marriage and reproduction, but they did so by design and they did so only for same-sex couples. Despite some loosening of those prohibitions over time, registered partners who want to have children still face legal hurdles that heterosexual married couples do not.
THE IMPACT OF GAY MARRIAGE IN THE U.S.
In the end, the Scandinavian and Dutch experience suggests that there is little reason to worry that heterosexual people will flee marriage if gay and lesbian couples get the same rights. This conclusion is even stronger when looking at the United States, where couples have many more tangible incentives to marry. Scholars of social welfare programs have noted that the U.S. relies heavily on the labor market and families to provide income and support for individuals. In the United States, unlike Scandinavia, marriage is often the only route to survivor coverage in pensions and social security, and many people have access to health care only through their spouse's employment. Scandinavian states, on the other hand, are much more financially supportive of families and individuals, regardless of their family or marital status.
The lack of support alternatives plus the tangible benefits of marriage all lead to one conclusion: if and when same-sex couples are allowed to marry, heterosexual couples will continue to marry in the United States.
Overall, there is no evidence that giving partnership rights to same-sex couples had any impact on heterosexual marriage in Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands. Marriage rates, divorce rates, and nonmarital birth rates have been changing in Scandinavia, Europe, and the United States for the past thirty years. But those changes have occurred in all countries, regardless of whether or not they adopted same-sex partnership laws, and these trends were underway well before the passage of laws that gave same-sex couples rights.
Furthermore, the legal and cultural context in the United States gives many more incentives for heterosexual couples to marry than in Europe, and those incentives will still exist even if same-sex couples can marry. Giving same-sex couples marriage or marriage-like rights has not undermined heterosexual marriage in Europe, and it is not likely to do so in the United States.
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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, the previous remarks are drawn from the research of a man named Stanley Kurtz, research that is of a very low level of intellectual activity. It would make some of the debate here today seem scintillating.
In fact, I have submitted information that makes it very clear that as far as the Netherlands are concerned, the trends involved predate same-sex marriage. As a matter of fact, there were same-sex civil unions first, then same-sex marriage. What has happened in the Netherlands predates that. The main author himself states that these are probably effects of the same cause.
Now, let us look to the United States. Vermont has had full civil unions, which most of the Members over there disagree with, since 2001, with zero, no negative effects, the same period of time as the Netherlands has had.
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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I would just ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania, before he leaves, because he is so certain about the Netherlands, and I will yield him my remaining time, when does he believe that same-sex marriages began in the Netherlands and what was the rate? What is the date?
Would the gentleman from Pennsylvania answer me? When did the same-sex marriages start in the Netherlands?
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Simpson). The time of the gentleman from Massachusetts has expired.
Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman will yield to the gentleman from Indiana.
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Well, you made the statement. You do not know?
Mr. SHUSTER. 1989.
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. No, they started in 2001.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. SHUSTER. That is what the facts show.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlemen will suspend.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 seconds to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Frank).
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. The gentleman gets the date wrong. He said since 1989. Same-sex marriage started in the Netherlands in 2001.
When Members are giving statistics, they ought to know what they mean.
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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clauses 8 and 9 of rule XX, this 15-minute vote on House Joint Resolution 106 will be followed by 5-minute votes on motions to suspend the rules on House Concurrent Resolution 501 and House Resolution 792.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were-yeas 227, nays 186, not voting 20, as follows:
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