Hinojosa Opposes Same-Sex Marriage and Opposes Changing the U.S. Constitution
September 30, 2004 -
Today Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) issued the following statement regarding his vote on the House floor in opposition to H. J. Res. 106, the Marriage Protection Amendment. The Amendment did not pass because it failed to gain the two-thirds vote required to amend the Constitution.
I oppose, and have always opposed same-sex marriage. However, I also oppose changing the U.S. Constitution in ways that discriminate against groups of people, curtail individual liberties and restrict state's rights.
For 200 years, our Constitution has specifically divided duties between the federal government and the state. Issues dealing with the lives, liberties and properties of people have been reserved to the states. Vice President Dick Cheney said it best when he said that 'the states have made that basic fundamental decision in terms of defining what constitutes a marriage . . . my view was that's appropriately a matter for the states to decide, that that's how it ought to best be handled.'"
Thirty-nine states, including Texas, have prohibited same-sex marriage, and the issue is pending in the other eleven. In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Clinton. It ensures that states opposing such marriages are not required to recognize them, even if another state decides to do so. During the Senate debate, Senator John McCain said "the Defense of Marriage Act represents the quintessentially federalist and Republican approach to this issue. The constitutional amendment we are debating today . . . usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them and which they feel capable of resolving should it confront them." Senator McCain also voted against this Amendment in the Senate.
The states are doing their job and, despite allegations to the contrary, there are no cases pending before any federal court that would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. Therefore, I did not believe there was a need to change the U.S. Constitution.